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RE: death pose
That IS interesting. I wonder what causes (-ed) the dinosaurs to go through
such death "struggles." Also, how far back do we see such a pose in the
fossil record? Dr. Carpenter mentioned seeing it in bipedal dinosaurs, but
do we not also see the neck pulled back in some sauropod specimens, even?
Undergraduate Student, Carleton University
Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleoecology
Paleoart website: http://www.geocities.com/paleoportfolio/
AIM: jslice mallon
From: "Ken Carpenter" <Kcarpenter@dmns.org>
To: <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: death pose
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 20:52:54 -0700
I had the most interesting conversation with an ostrich rancher and his
wife regarding death poses in the ostrich. Standard dogma, which I had long
accepted as true, is that the head and neck pulled back and legs drawn
against the body pose of bipedal dinosaurs (especially theropods) due to
drying of the nuchal ligaments. I had thought about testing this hypothesis
with fresh killed birds, but just never got around to doing it. In fact, I
don't think anyone has tested this hypothesis. It as been assumed that
drying of the nuchal ligament was the cause.
This ostrich rancher and his wife have both said that they have sat with a
dying ostrich several times. Every time, as the bird nears death it will
crouch, legs pulled against the body, and slowly pull its neck back in the
"classic" deasth pose of dinosaurs. When it finally dies, it remains in
this pose and rigor mortis soon sets in and locks it there. I questioned
him about several points of this (being somewhat skeptical), yet the
photograph does verify this. It may very well be then, that the so-called
death pose in dinosaurs is not due to drying of ligaments, but a natural
phenomenon - a pre-death form of rigor mortis.
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