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Re: death pose

"David Marjanovic" <david.marjanovic@gmx.at> writes:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Phil Hore
> To: Kcarpenter@dmns.org; dinosaur@usc.edu; vrtpaleo@usc.edu
> Sent: Friday, December 19, 2003 11:04 PM
> Subject: RE: death pose
> > In humans at least, litling your head back opens
> > your air way and allows you to breath easier

> because our neck is below and not behind the head, necessitating a 
> bend in
> our airways. This is not the case for most or all dinosaurs except
> pachycephalosaurs.
> Feel free to forward this. :-)

Its a bit more involved than that.  Head position can also effect the
ease of breathing in non-primate mammals.  Most of this phenomenon can be
attributed to the flexion of the hyoid apparatus.  See the following
references for more details:

Van Lunteren, E., M. A. Haxhiu, and N. S. Cherniack. 1987. Mechanical
function of hyoid muscles during spontaneous breathing in cats.  Journal
of Applied Physiology 62:582-590.

Van De Graaff, W. B., S. B. Gottfried, J. Mitra, E. Van Lunteren, N. S.
Cherniack, and K. P. Strohl. 1984. Respiratory function of hyoid muscles
and hyoid arch. Journal of Applied Physiology 57:197-204.

Evans, H. E. 1959. Hyoid muscle anomalies in the dog (Canis familiaris).
Anatomical Record 133:145-162.

Nagai, M., A. Kudo, I. Matsuno, M. Yokoyama, J. Manabe, S. Hasegawa, and
S. Nakamura. 1989. [Hyoid bone position and airway accompanied with
influence of head posture]. Nippon Kyosei Shika Gakkai Zasshi
48(2):214-225. [In Japanese]

Anapol, F. 1988. Morphological and videofluorographic study of the hyoid
apparatus and its function in the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Journal
of Morphology 195(2):141-157.

Considering that birds have a vastly different respiratory system than
mammals, all bets are off regarding the importance of head position with
respect to ease of breathing.  Do emus and ostriches pant during their
contorted-neck death throes?  If they pant, this may be a clue.

Whatever the cause of the backward contortion of the neck in still-alive
but dying birds, it has important implications regarding taphonomy and
paleoecology, and it deserves a more detailed study.


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