Navigation Links
Exploding dinosaur hypothesis implodes
Date:3/28/2012

The pregnant ichthyosaur female from Holzmaden (Germany) that perished 182 million years ago puzzled researchers for quite some time: The skeleton of the extinct marine reptile is almost immaculately preserved and the fossilized bones of the mother animal lie largely in their anatomical position. The bones of the ichthyosaur embryos, however, are a different story: For the most part, they lie scattered outside the body of the mother. Such peculiar bone arrangements are repeatedly found in ichthyosaur skeletons. According to the broadly accepted scientific doctrine, this is the result of exploding carcasses: Putrefaction gases produced during the decomposition process cause the carcass to swell and burst. Through such explosions, even the bones of embryos can supposedly be ejected out of the body. Based on an elaborate series of measurements and an analysis of the physical-biological parameters, however, a research team of sedimentologists, paleontologists and forensic scientists has now managed to dispel the myth of exploding dinosaur carcasses.

Putrefaction gas pressure not high enough

In order to gauge the pressure of the particular gases that can actually develop inside a putrefying ichthyosaur, the researchers sought comparative models and found one in human corpses: Humans and many ichthyosaur species have a similar size range. Consequently, the formation of similar amounts of putrefaction gas can be expected during decomposition. At the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Frankfurt, Germany, a manometer was inserted into the abdominal cavity through the umbilicus in one hundred corpses.The putrefaction gas pressures measured were only 0.035 bar. In the case of the ichthyosaur carcasses that came to rest below 50 to 150 meters of water, however, putrefaction gas pressures of over five to 15 bar would have been necessary to cause an explosion. According to Zurich paleontologist Christian Klug, gas pressures of this dimension and therefore actual explosions are impossible: "Large vertebrates that decompose cannot act as natural explosive charges." And he is convinced: "Our results can be extended to lung-breathing vertebrates in general."

What actually happened 182 million years ago

According to the researchers, the fate of ichthyosaur carcasses can be reconstructed as follows: Normally, the bodies sank to the seabed immediately post mortem. In very deep, hospitable waters, they were broken down completely through putrefaction,scavengers, bone-destroying organisms and dissolving processes. In shallower water (up to 50 meters) and a temperature of over four degrees Celsius, however, the corpses often rose back to the surface on account of the putrefaction gases accumulating inside the body. At the surface, exposed to the waves and scavengers, they decomposed within anything from a few days to weeks and the bones were scattered over a wide area on the seabed as they sank.

Ichthyosaur skeletons only remained preserved more or less in their anatomical position under very special circumstances: A lack of oxygen, medium water depths and insignificant bottom water currents. Because only then were the putrefaction gases compressed strongly enough through the high water pressure and dissolved in the bodily fluids, and the carcasses not completely broken down due to a lack of scavengers. The carcass of the ichthyosaur female from Holzmaden thus sank to the bottom of the sea, which was up to 150 meters deep, where it decomposed. In doing so, the decomposed embryo skeletons were transported out of the body of the mother by minor currents at the seabed.


'/>"/>
Contact: Christian Klug
chklug@pim.uzh.ch
41-764-727-434
University of Zurich
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Study compares sound from exploding volcanoes with jet engines
2. New Healthcare Franchise Opportunity Focuses on Treating Exploding Senior Population
3. Americas smallest dinosaur uncovered
4. Meat-eating dinosaur from Argentina had bird-like breathing system
5. New meat-eating dinosaur from Argentina had bird-like breathing system
6. Mass extinctions and the evolution of dinosaurs
7. A new dinosaur species, Pachyrhinosaur lakustai, unveiled from Pipestone Creek, Alberta, Canada
8. Brain structure provides key to unraveling function of bizarre dinosaur crests
9. Key to function of dinosaur crests found in brain structure
10. Geologist who linked cosmic strike to dinosaurs extinction takes top prize
11. A dinosaur dance floor
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Exploding dinosaur hypothesis implodes
(Date:2/1/2017)... , February 1, 2017 IDTechEx Research, ... on emerging technology, announces the availability of a new report, ... Continue Reading ... ... industrial and collaborative robots. Source: IDTechEx Report "Sensors for Robotics: Technologies, ...
(Date:1/26/2017)... DENVER , Jan. 26, 2017  Acuity ... Trends for Biometrics and Digital Identity".  Acuity characterizes ... digital identity when increased adoption reflects a new ... "Biometrics and digital identity are ... says Maxine Most , Principal of Acuity ...
(Date:1/23/2017)...  The latest mobile market research from Acuity Market ... The quarterly average price of a biometric smartphone decreased ... 2016.  There are now 120 sub-$150 models on the ... just 28 a year ago at an average price ... Most , Acuity Market Intelligence Principal, "Biometric Smartphones are ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/16/2017)... ... February 16, 2017 , ... Avomeen & MichBio will be ... will be held at Avomeen Analytical Services (4840 Venture Dr., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108). ... They provide an opportunity to interact with peers, make new connections and talk bio ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... CALABASAS, Calif. , Feb. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... on developing groundbreaking therapies to treat severe neurological ... in children treated with AGT-181, the company,s investigational ... syndrome (also known as mucopolysaccharidosis type I, or ... Phase 2 proof-of-concept (POC) study, presented today at ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... 2017 Patient Care services ... telemedicine application, new and leading edge therapies and ... boom worldwide. The healthcare sector as whole continues ... and new therapies for companies such as Reliq ... Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLRB ), Cytori ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... ... February 16, 2017 , ... AxioMed announced today the ... Harvard trained surgeon, completed the procedure on Monday, Jan. 30 at Andrews Memorial ... physician suffering from degenerative disc disease with radiculomyelopathy, as a result of degenerative ...
Breaking Biology Technology: