Two years ago, we brought you the fascinating story of some German and Swiss researchers who had investigated whether the carcasses of prehistoric “whales” (aka ichthyosaurs) ever exploded, which could explain why bone fossils are sometimes found scattered about instead of all together.
And today we have an update on their work.
Here’s how we summarized their results in February 2012:
In what has to be one of the most disappointing scientific results of the 21st century, the scientists conclude that ichthyosaur carcasses probably did not frequently explode and scatter bones. Rather, they conclude that dead prehistoric whale-like creatures would have sunk to the sea floor and would have only resurfaced when “they remained in shallow water above a certain temperature and at a low scavenging rate.” Subsequently, bone scattering would have supposedly occurred as the carcass floated around and decomposed gradually.
Killjoys, we say! Here at TheExplodingWhale.com we simply refuse to allow “science” to subvert the awesomely cool idea of exploding dinosaur carcasses!
Alas, others would disagree with our position:
- The team’s paper appeared in Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments (March 2012, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 67-81)
- Late in 2013 the research team was subsequently honored with the Alexander von Humboldt-Gedächtnispreis (Memorial Award), a prestigious award from Naturmuseum Senckenberg, the second largest museum of natural history in Germany.
- They made an appearance on improbable.com, the group that publishes Annals of Improbable Research and administers the Ig Nobel Prizes.
And even though we remain strongly in favor of exploding dino carcasses, we’ve got two more related items to share from these heretical researchers.
But don’t despair. The English speaking among us can listen to “So Bizarrely Twisted,” the first episode of Science Slam Sonic Explorers, based on Reisdorf’s Science Slam above:
Psst! Don’t miss the “bonus scene” at the end of the above video. Even though their results say otherwise, I think this team secretly loves exploding dinosaur carcasses, too!