Birds Roosting

Dinosaurs roost like birds, according articles in ScienceDaily 24 August 2017 and Nature news 25 August 2017.

Greg Funston, a palaeontologist at the University of Alberta, Canada, and colleagues have studied three dinosaurs embedded together in one block of rock from Mongolia, dated as 70 million years old. The dinosaurs have been identified as a new species of oviraptids. Funston described the specimen: “It’s a fantastic specimen. It’s rare to find a skeleton preserved in life position, so having two complete individuals and parts of a third is really incredible”. The dinosaurs had long necks, heads with a crest like a cassowary, short faces and toothless beaks.

Two of the specimens are crouched down with their heads curled back in a pose described by Funston as “quite similar to what ostriches and emus do when they get into deep sleep”. The third specimen is too incomplete and fragmented to describe its posture. The researcher team claim the dinosaurs were sleeping together in a form of communal roosting, same way that some birds, such as chickens and pigeons, do to keep warm and avoid predators. The dinosaurs are all juveniles of much the same age, and researchers suggest they may have been siblings, who may have nestled together in cold weather or in a sandstorm.

According to David Varricchio, a vertebrate palaeontologist at Montana State University in Bozeman “they were alive together and they perished together”.

Nature, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: These dinosaurs may have lived and died together, but this fossil only proves they were buried together, and their death pose is more like drowned reptiles than roosting ostriches. Rather than sheltering from cold weather or a sandstorm, these three dinosaurs were more likely swept up in a mass of sediment, drowned and dumped together. Suffocation by drowning causes muscle spasms in the back and neck to pull the head back into a distinctive death pose commonly seen in many dinosaurs. The spasm quickly passes when they die, so they must be buried quickly for it to be preserved.

Furthermore, they were not roosting like birds. Birds roost by perching on a branch or stick with their feet curled around it. Anyone who keeps chickens (as one of our editors does) will have observed this. The legs and feet of these dinosaurs show no evidence of this. (It is worth looking at the photo on either of the links above.) The only reason to make the suggestion of roosting like birds is to reinforce the belief that dinosaurs evolved into birds.

Evidence News vol. 17, No. 17
13 September 2017
Creation Research Australia

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