Skip to comments.Pompeii-like volcanic ash kept dinosaur remains fresh
Posted on 02/04/2014 7:44:58 PM PST by SeekAndFind
It's hot storage. Millions of years before volcanic ash entombed the Roman town of Pompeii, a group of dinosaurs succumbed to a similar fate. China's famous feathered dinosaur fossils owe their exquisite preservation to volcanic eruptions between about 130 and 120 million years ago.
The Jehol fossils have transformed our understanding of dinosaurs by showing that the relatives of Velociraptor and T. rex had a feather-like body covering, like birds. The Jehol deposits also preserved soft tissue from early mammals and flowering plants.
Baoyu Jiang of Nanjing University, China, and his colleagues think they know why the remains are so well preserved. They found carbon layers on the bones with a structure and composition that suggests they are charred soft tissue and the limbs of skeletons are flexed as if they had been trapped in volcanic ash.
Raymond Rogers at Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota, thinks the work may help explain the unusually good preservation seen in the region. "Examples of extraordinary preservation in the fossil record, such as the Jehol biota, generally demand extraordinary explanations," he says and a Pompeii-like volcanic eruption fits the bill. But more work is needed to fully test the idea, he cautions.
The authors make a strong case, says David Eberth of the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada. But he points out they only looked at 14 animal fossils. "Their sample size is just too small," he says. Other factors were probably involved in preserving Jehol fossils elsewhere in the area, he says.
(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...
See also here:
Ancient Ash Volcanoes Entombed Chinese Dinosaurs
After analyzing fossils and sediment, Baoyu Jiang of Chinas Nanjing University and his team concluded that lethal, sudden pyroclastic volcanic eruptions marked by air blasts, hot gas, and ground-hogging clouds of fine ash likely smothered, charred, and then carried forward everything in their path to create these bone beds, according to the study published in Nature Communications.
The finding explains why so many creatures would come to be buried on lake floors, and how they remained well preserved enough to retain signs of soft tissue features, such as feathers, tens of millions of years later.
Another possibility is that the animal bodies floated into the lake or were washed there by flooding. The researchers ruled these scenarios out, because the structure of the sediments and the intactness of the animal skeletons didnt fit with these explanations.
It’s a shame that the Pompeii-like volcanic ash didn’t keep the remains of the resident of Pompeii so fresh.
Well... it would seem that we have a recent ‘test-bed’ to use to support this theory.
Mt. St. Helens. Volcano blew up. Bunch of creatures ‘preserved’ under all that ash. Some human.
Well... if they were buried in ash, they could easily be intact. It’s ash.
If they were washed there by flooding, I have serious doubts that they would be ‘intact’. Those guys chasing Moses and their chariots didn’t make it ‘intact’.
...couple a slices of bacon...
Uhm, ok, is there a gorilla in the room we are not supposed to notice?
It’s a bad analogy. Pompeii was hit by a pyroclastic flow, which incinerates everything. I think this guy is saying the dinosaurs were rapidly covered in ash (although Vesuvius did produce a lot of ash, too).
I could see how the bones would be preserved, but the flesh would be a goner. Herculanaeum was buried by a three- to four-storey flow, which left wooden upper storeys of buildings intact, whereas in Pompeii they are largely not preserved by the ash burial. In Herculanaeum wooden doors were carbonized and still hang on, and swing on, their original hinges.
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