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Mesozoic lizard-bone aggregate taphonomy

From: Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Annette Richter and Michael Wuttke (2012)
Analysing the taphonomy of Mesozoic lizard aggregates from Uña
(eastern Spain) by X-ray controlled decay experiments.
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1007/s12549-011-0065-1

Well-preserved lizard bone aggregates from the Lower Cretaceous
(Barremian) coals of Uña (eastern Spain) show varying combinations of
skeletal elements which obviously represent different stages of
disarticulation. Unfortunately, this does not give information about
the mode and timing of decomposition, besides the fact that the soft
tissue decayed while the bone was very well preserved. Due to the
absence of appropriate documentation of the decomposition sequence of
an extant lizard carcass, an actualistic palaeontological experiment
was conducted using a carcass of one individual of the iguanid Oplurus
cuvieri. To get information about the invisible sub-integumentary
disarticulation of the skeleton, this process was continuously
documented using X-rays. The general agreement of the experiments with
the fossil stages of preservation is consistent with a subaquatic
decay process for the Uña lizards. Also, the experiments record an
unambiguous order of disarticulation and dissociation under
undisturbed conditions. Even if the influence of currents is left out
in this experiment, predictions can be made for transportation
processes, taking the susceptibility to detachment into account.