Dino death pose recreated, according to an article in New Scientist online 23 November 2011. Many dinosaur fossils are found with the head and neck bent backwards and the tail arched over their back – a position technically known as the opisthotonic death pose. This position is very common but scientists have not been able to explain why it happens.

Alicia Cutler and colleagues from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah have carried out an experiment with dead chickens to see if they can recreate the pose. They placed some chickens on a bed of dry sand for three months to see if desiccation and muscle contraction would produce the pose, and they placed some chickens in cool fresh water. The chickens placed in water went into the arched neck with head thrown back position almost immediately. Leaving them in water for a month increased the severity of the distortion, but most of the movement occurred when they were first immersed in the water. Cutler commented: “Although the roads to the opisthotonic death pose are many, immersion in water is the simplest explanation”.

New Scientist

Editorial Comment: The opisthotonic death pose is very common and seen in many fossils, some of them very large, from all over the world. If it takes sudden immersion in cool fresh water to produce the pose it is evidence that fossils were not slowly and gradually buried over long periods, but were suddenly and catastrophically drowned. One hunter in Canada commented years ago that when he shot moose and only got them in the lungs, as they drown in their own blood they will arch their head back and die like that. As we researched his comments, we encountered one man who said his mother died from fluid accumulation on the lungs and just as she died, she did exactly the same. Submersion in water of a non-decayed body and drowning are both sources for this phenomenon. But where would large amounts of cool fresh water come from along with lots of fresh undecayed bodies? You could try the flood of Noah as the fountains of the great deep bursting forth accompanied by 40 days and nights of rain? (Genesis 7:11-12) (Ref. fossilisation, flood, vertebrates)

Evidence News 8 February 2012