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the fight to the death?
posted Tue, Jun 21 2005, 6:43pm
I was just wondering if you guys know about the famous "battle-scene" of the fossil of protoceratops and velociraptor who "fought to the death." I think the two Polish paleontologists(they're one of the very few female paleontologists who are well known) who discovered it think it was buried in the sand(that makes sense). We're they found exactly this way? Well here's one good pic.
here's link 1
I had another awesome picture of the "death scene" with a close up of Velociraptor's jaw in proto's mouth but I couldn't get it to link right. Interesting how something can happen in only a few seconds but be frozen in time for millions of years.
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Re: the fight to the death?
posted Tue, Jun 21 2005, 8:35pm
I remember it being discussed in two of my classes. The consensus is that they were fighting on a sand dune and got buried when the dune collapsed on them. I don't know if this is exactly true, but it seems plausible enough to me. Something like this was reenacted on 'Dinosaur Planet' that was shown on the Discovery channel a few years ago.
Re: the fight to the death?
posted Tue, Jun 21 2005, 10:50pm
Thats the famous fighting pair of GI SPS 100/25 (raptor) and GI SPS 100/512 (proto)

>We're they found exactly this way?

They were found in 1971 in exactly the same position as currently displayed.



There are several ideas as to what exactly happened to these two -

Barsbold, R. 1974. (Priroda 2: 81-83) - Proto and raptor duel in water and somehow got sucked into the lakebed - since then studies have conclusive proven that the sediments are eolian (sand dunes), this theory is out.

Osmolska, H. 1993. (Revue de Paleobiologie special volume no. 7 pp. 161-162) - Proto' was already dead and the 'Raptor died while scavenging. Evidence - why does the Proto' have no arms while the 'Raptor is 100% complete? There is no sign of erosion on the Proto's delicate scapulocoracoids that would suggest the arms had weathered away. The Proto' had died mired in the sand, scavengers took off the arms - and while the 'raptor was scavenging the dune collapsed on it. Problem - the raptor's right leg is stuck way underneath the Proto's body which would be unusual if it were simply scavenging.

Unwin, D.M., Perle, A. & Trueman, C. 1995. Protoceratops and Velociraptor preserved in association: evidence for predatory behavior in dromaeosaurid dinosaurs? JVP 15 (suppl. to 3): 57A. - Raptor and Proto were engaged in Mortal Kombat!!! when a sudden sandstorm came and buried both the combatants alive. Seems to be the most popular way of portraying the fight in most books. Doesn't explain why the Proto is missing limbs.

The following proposal sounds best to me -

Carpenter, K. 1998. (Evidence of predatory behavior by carnivorous dinosaurs. Gaia 15: 135-144). Proto' and 'Raptor duke it out - Proto' collapses from wounds but pins the raptor beneath it as it dies. Scavengers take off the proto's arms before burial by drifting sands - the sands concealing the smaller raptor carcass first, preventing it from being scavenged.

Or maybe they were prempting the King Arthur vs Black Knight "Holy Grail" duel...
(Protoceratops = "Tis but a fleshwound!!!")

> one of the very few female paleontologists who are well known
You mean Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska? Hey there are tons (er...no reference to your weight ladies) of well-known chick-palaeontologists out there! Karen Chin (dino-poo expert), Pat Vickers-Rich (Victorian polar dinosaurs), Jenny Clack (Acanthostega and other basal tetrapods), Zulma Gasparini (Argentine dino-expert), Joan Wiffen (New Zealand's foremost dinosaur hunter), the recently deceased Betsy Nicholls (Canadian ichthyosaur expert) etc etc etc.

Don't forget that one of the original fossil hunters - Mary Anning (1799-1847)- was Y-chromosome deficient.

O4


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