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Jurassic CSI: Fossils indicate central nervous system damage

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9:00pm, June 20, 2007

Many animal fossils appear in a head-thrown-back position called the "dead-bird" pose, which paleontologists traditionally attribute to rigor mortis, desiccation of the carcass, or the shifting of bones by water currents. Now, scientists report that the posture probably came about because dinosaurs or other animals died of central nervous system damage. Fossils of nearly all birdlike Archaeopteryx, as well as some Tyrannosaurus rex and other ancient creatures, exhibit the curious pose.

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