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Re: Running around like an Ornitholestes with his head cut off...


Parts of this discussion are quite hard to follow. I had to read this post three times to find what Scott is talking about.

I bet those lip readers were used somewhere! They had some strange beliefs back then. I very highly doubt it was done everywhere. Now, aristocrats about to be beheaded could often make speeches to the crowd if they wanted to. What would be the purpose of the lip reading - post-death confession, maybe? Making sure they didn't put a curse at the moment of death?


----- Original Message ----- From: "Jerrold Alpern" <vjalp@mindspring.com>
To: <skeletaldrawing@gmail.com>; "Dino List" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Friday, September 16, 2011 7:46 AM
Subject: Re: Running around like an Ornitholestes with his head cut off...


Do you have the sources for those medieval reports of lip readers at beheadings? Were they ever successful? Did any of them record any words they had lip read? In England, beheadings were reserved for the aristocracy, who usually got the chop because of treason. Was this an attempt to learn the names of unindicted co-conspirators?


Jerry Alpern

----- Original Message ----- From: "Scott Hartman" <skeletaldrawing@gmail.com>
To: "Dino List" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2011 1:52 PM
Subject: Running around like an Ornitholestes with his head cut off...

Since I'm briefly coming out of list retirement today I wanted to
address the issue of headless chicken running a bit. While the idea
to put it in the show was not mine, David certainly mentioned it to me
and I did not shoot it down (and still wouldn't). I'll grant you that
there isn't much in the professional literature on the subject, but I
think people are thinking of this from the wrong way (i.e., wondering
about the distribution of "headless-running" in birds like it's a
derived condition).

 That said, we have gone a long way down the path of
nervous system centralization, and if you cut a mammal's head off you
may get some twitching but it won't run around; our limbs literally
cannot coordinate themselves without the brain's involvement (although
morbidly it does appear that the head itself retains some
coordination, if medieval reports are true that people were employed
to read lips for up to a minute after a beheading).


Scott Hartman
Scientific Advisor/Technical Illustrator
(307) 921-9750