1 Answer
1
Accepted answer

Unfortunately, we couldn't figure out how "Joe" the Parasaurolophus died. There is no evident injury on its bones, nor is there any indication it was attacked (or even eaten) by a predator. For now (and perhaps forever!), this will be a mystery.

As for cause of death in other dinosaurs, that too is impossible to know. We can speculate based on injuries in the bones (and many people have), but this often remains speculation. For instance, many dinosaurs are found with bite marks or traces of feeding by other dinosaurs...it's tempting to claim that the animal was ripped apart in a fierce battle, but there is really no way to distinguish that from traces of scavenging that happened days after the animal died! It does stink when we can't know things for sure, but that's science! In fact, I think that's part of what makes science so exciting--discovering what we can and can't know.

waiting for moderation
0

Is this something where knowing more about the geology of the site would help? Was DinoJoe found in a floodplain or something similar?

-
waiting for moderation
1

The geology of the site is fairly well-understood--the animal was found in the sand bar of an ancient river channel (a common environment for the Kaiparowits Formation where the fossil originated). The bones were pretty well still stuck together, so I think it's safe to say it was buried fairly rapidly after it died. Whether or not it died in the river is something interesting to think about...but tough to say.

-
waiting for moderation

Ask me anything journal club

- with Andy Farke and Sarah Werning

On November 13th Andy Farke and Sarah Werning will be here live to answer your questions. They recently published the now famous 'baby dinosaur' paper. We welcome anyone to ask them a question regarding this paper, paleontology in general or any other topic before, during, and after the event.

When: November 13, 2013 08:00 am PST

Where: Ask me anything - with Andy Farke and Sarah Werning


Other questions about this article