Float, explode or sink: postmortem fate of lung-breathing marine vertebrates

  title={Float, explode or sink: postmortem fate of lung-breathing marine vertebrates},
  author={Achim G. Reisdorf and Roman Bux and Daniel Wyler and Mark Benecke and Christian Klug and Michael W. Maisch and Peter R. Fornaro and Andreas Wetzel},
  journal={Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments},
  • A. Reisdorf, R. Bux, A. Wetzel
  • Published 1 February 2012
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments
What happens after the death of a marine tetrapod in seawater? Palaeontologists and neontologists have claimed that large lung-breathing marine tetrapods such as ichthyosaurs had a lower density than seawater, implying that their carcasses floated at the surface after death and sank subsequently after leakage of putrefaction gases (or ‘‘carcass explosions’’). Such explosions would thus account for the skeletal disarticulation observed frequently in the fossil record. We examined the taphonomy… 

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