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Re: death pose



This sounds very similar to what occurred to cockatiel of mine. The bird was
noticeably ill, so we removed her from her cage and placed her in a laundry
basket so we could more easily treat her. She hung on for about a week, and
her health did appear to improve somewhat over that time. Unfortunately she
ended up dying regardless. Near the end, her head would slowly arch
backwards, seemingly out of her control. Sometimes, she appeared to be
fighting it, and she would flutter around the basket doing back flips as a
result of the spasm. I can't really comment on the position of the feet, as
they are rather stumpy and remain close to the body to begin with, but this
does seem to resemble what Dr. Carpenter described with the ostrich.

Chris Collinson

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ken Carpenter" <Kcarpenter@dmns.org>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>; <vrtpaleo@usc.edu>
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2003 7:52 PM
Subject: death pose


> 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.
>
> Ken
>