Upside down dinosaurs explained by scientists in Science (AAAS) News 21 February 2018, and Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.02.010, published online 9 February 2018.
Ankylosaurs were squat, short-legged dinosaurs with thick tails and armour-plated backs. Scientists who study them have noted that most have been preserved lying on their backs – i.e. upside down, and have wondered how this should happen. Jordan Mallon, a dinosaur fossil specialist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, in Ottawa, decided to investigate and assess the various theories put forward to explain this.
First, he checked that the excess of upside down ankylosaurs was a real. He and his colleagues found that of the 36 ankylosaurs found in Alberta, Canada, 26 were buried in the belly-up position – more than could be expected by random processes. Four theories had been proposed for this.
Mallon quickly dismissed the theory that ankylosaurs simply fell down hills and landed on their backs, unable to get up. He commented: “If ankylosaurs were universally clumsy, then you wouldn’t expect them to stick around for 100 million years.” Also, he quickly dismissed the idea that dead ankylosaurs were flipped over by predators, as there were no bite marks on their bones.
They even tested the “armadillo roadkill model”, which arose because people noted that dead armadillos, which also have armour-plated backs, are often found on their backs on the sides of roads. In order to eliminate false results from dead armadillos being rolled over by either scavengers or people, the researchers placed newly dead armadillos in their back garden, protected them from interference, and waited to see if they turned on their backs as they decomposed. A few did, but only if they were placed on their sides rather than on the bellies.
This left the “bloat and float” theory, which claims dead ankylosaurs were washed into rivers or the sea. There they became bloated by decomposition gases accumulating in their belly which made the body unstable so they rolled over into the belly-up position, before eventually bursting and sinking, weighed down by the bony plates on their backs. To test this, researchers used a computer modelling technique that built a 3D digital model of an ankylosaur, which they modified to simulate bloating, and stability in water. Their computer software had been tested using models of known animals, such as alligators, in water. The researcher found this “bloat and float” model produced the same results that are found in real specimens.
Editorial Comment: This is a good example of the painstaking, and sometimes bizarre activities scientists use to check out scientific theories. In their paper the researchers thanked “their very tolerant neighbours, who endured without comment the stench of decomposing armadillos emanating from a corner of their yard.”
Bloat and float would explain a number of dinosaur finds, including one Chinese dinosaur we have on display at our Jurassic Ark outdoor Australian creation museum. However, we do need to add in that before they get to bloat and float, they first have to die.
As the scientists noted, the specimens so far found show no signs of having been victims of predators or scavengers, so just how did large lumbering land creatures end up literally ‘dead in the water’? Drowning is the obvious answer, but have you ever considered how much water is needed to overwhelm and drown a creature the size of a tank, and the keep it in the water long enough to bloat, float and then burst and sink upside down, and then be deeply buried in flood sediments that solidified rapidly firstly across Alberta – and even that’s a very big flood, before we even consider other Ankylosaur skeletons. For more details see our report Best Ever Ankylosaur here.
This research adds to the overwhelming evidence of drowned and rapidly buried dinosaurs found all over the world – a powerful testimony to the worldwide catastrophic flood sent in judgement by the Creator and Judge, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Evidence News vol. 18 No. 2
28 February 2018
Creation Research Australia
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