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:3/21/2016)... -- Unique technology combines v ...   Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... communications services, today announced it is working alongside SpeechPro ... particularly those in the Financial Services Sector, the ability ... a mobile app, alongside, and in combination with, traditional ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... , March 15, 2016 Yissum ... , the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University, announced ... of remote sensing technology of various human biological indicators. ... raising $2.0 million from private investors. ... based on the detection of electromagnetic emissions from sweat ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... March 11, 2016 --> ... research report "Image Recognition Market by Technology (Pattern Recognition), ... Advertising), by Deployment Type (On-Premises and Cloud), by Industry ... published by MarketsandMarkets, the global market is expected to ... 29.98 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 19.1%. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... In a list published by the Boston ... 76 fastest-growing private companies; a small percentage of the state's 615,000+ small businesses. The ... percent change in revenue from 2012 to 2015. , As this award ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... - And Other Rising Companies - a ... Biologics  - Biosimilar Drug Producers - Your ... Who are the most important and promising ... potentials? Discover, in our updated survey, organisations, outlooks from ... forecasting. Visiongain,s new study analyses ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... Meister Media Worldwide ... fresh look and added functionality give the agricultural world a taste of Meister ... shift in agriculture – from precision farming via satellites and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Amendia, Inc., a leading designer, developer, manufacturer ... completion of a significant transaction and partnership that positions Amendia for accelerated growth ... Kohlberg & Company, L.L.C. (“Kohlberg”), a leading private equity firm specializing in middle ...
Breaking Biology Technology: