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Pachycephalosaurid dome hydrodynamic behavior
From: Ben Creisler
A new paper:
Joseph E. Peterson and Carol L. Bigalke (2013)
Hydrodynamic behaviors of pachycephalosaurid domes in controlled
fluvial settings: a case study in experimental dinosaur taphonomy.
The hydrodynamic behaviors of isolated dinosaur bones have been
largely overlooked in the paleontological literature. Investigations
into the hydrodynamic properties of dinosaur remains with unique
taphonomic signatures, such as pachycephalosaurid frontoparietal
domes, have the potential to aid in the interpretation of preservation
for skeletal elements for which modern analogues are not available.
For this study, a series of transport experiments were conducted to
assess the entrainment velocities and settling orientations of a
collection of pachycephalosaurid specimens. Casts of four
pachycephalosaurid frontoparietal domes and skulls were composed of a
urethane resin with a comparable average density to compact and
cancellous bone, and placed in a flume with manual velocity control.
Data were recorded for competent velocity, transport distance, and
settling orientations upon resting and burial of specimens for 35
trials per cast. Though specimens vary considerably in mass, the
results suggest specimen shape has a greater influence on transport
and hydrodynamic behavior than size; significantly lower velocities
are required to transport complete skulls than isolated domes. Resting
and burial orientations of specimens vary significantly for domes and
complete skulls. The highly variable transport velocities and settling
orientations of pachycephalosaurid crania offer insight into
pachycephalosaurid taphonomy and illustrate the importance of future
taphonomic studies on large fossil vertebrate remains.