So Bizarrely Twisted
Achim G. Reisdorf/ Nicole Blackman/ Submerged/ Seetyca
Science Slam Sound Series 001R of Science Slam Sonic Explorers ⓒ Ohm Resistance (2014), on_lap_records (2014)
This track is an audio realization of a Science Slam text by Achim G. Reisdorf (University of Basel, Switzerland)
What is a Science Slam? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_slam
Dedicated to Reiner Hertl aka Mr. 1900
Special thanks to DeNae Flentje, Reiner Hertl, Joseph Hogan, Simon Jäggi, Christian Klug, Ronny Lehmann, Ursula Menkveld-Gfeller, Julia Offe, Brigitte Springmann, Sinje Weber, Michael Wuttke, GEO, Science Slam Basel, ScienceSlam.de
*) Reisdorf, A.G. & Wuttke, M. (2012): Re-evaluating Moodie's Opisthotonic-Posture Hypothesis in fossil vertebrates. Part I: Reptiles - The taphonomy of the bipedal dinosaurs Compsognathus longipes and Juravenator starki from the Solnhofen Archipelago (Jurassic, Germany). – Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments, 92(1): 119-168. DOI: 10.1007/s12549-011-0068-y.
**) Reisdorf, A.G. & Wuttke, M. (2012/2013): Dino-Leichen, wie habt ihr euch verändert! (Science Slam presentation)
***) Reisdorf, A.G. (2013): CSI Jurassic Park. – GEO, 10, Oktober: 175.
Why are so many dinosaur skeletons so bizarrely twisted?
Just consider that icon of paleontology, the fossil of the ancestral bird Archaeopteryx.
A special discipline, taphonomy, seeks to answer such questions of fate.
This interdisciplinary branch of science has uncovered many odd and dramatic stories of fossilizations, especially those involving the reconstruction of the events surrounding death.
In this sense, I am a paleo-forensic investigator.
During one of my research projects, I’ve come to be able to help disprove a global “fashion trend” in paleontology: the hypothesis of “petrified death throes”.
Many of the skeletons used as evidence for this hypothesis have the neck bent far backwards.
Such fossils are found in deposits that are proven to have formed underwater.
My colleague Michael Wuttke and I have put this widely accepted hypothesis to the test by using, among other methods, a type of “kitchen science”.
We placed chicken necks obtained from the local organic butcher in an aquarium
(that’s right, chickens are the legitimate successors of dinosaurs!).
As if by magic, the outstretched necks quickly bent backwards 180 degrees.
The cause lies in the biomechanics of a preloaded ligament structure, which in vertebrates extends along the vertebral column from the tail to the neck.
When the usual effect of gravity on the lifeless, outstretched necks is negated by this underwater experiment, tensile forces of the ligament structure are able to bend the necks.
This observation indicates that such dinosaurs probably died much more peacefully than has been often and so grisly assumed.
Dinosaur icon, R.I.P.
And a happy ending.
released June 18, 2014
Achim G. Reisdorf (research*, text**, ***, sounds, executive producer)
Michael Wuttke (research*)
Nicole Blackman (voice)
Kurt Gluck (original music)
Ronny Lehmann (remix, additional music/sounds/production)
Tony Maimone (voiceover engineer)
Khomatech (title graphic)
all rights reserved