Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Berlin Ichthyosaur Death Assemblage: Not just a German black metal band

You are a giant super-intelligent cephalopod from 200 million years ago, apex predator of the Jurassic ocean. Is that correct?

That is my job description. Though I have to say that there is not a lot of meat on an apex, and when the chance comes up I prefer to predate a Shonisaurus popularis.
As any fule kno, the Shonisaurus whereof you speak was a large species of ichthyosaur, ranging in size up to about 14 metres. And then you would arrange the vertebral disks of your victims on the sea-bed, graded in size from large to little, in a kind of art-work, or perhaps a new garden path. Correct?

Hey dude, I'm a predator, not a creepy serial killer with morbid artistic aspirations. You shouldn't believe everything you hear from Mike McMenamin.

Right: Giant letter U from the Dortmund Union Brauerei building included for scale.
That is indeed McMenamin's theory -- to explain why a couple of Shonisaur skeletons have been excavated, fossilised in that particular arrangement.

Harumph. One tentacled monstrosity (who currently waits dreaming in his house at R'lyeh) gets up to a little bad behaviour -- just high spirits really -- and suddenly it's OK to go around accusing all us tentacled monstrosities.
Since the pentasymmetric Great Old Ones in their Antarctic stronghold are known to use exactly that artistic style, perhaps your accusations would be less wild if they were directed at them.
I said I'm sorry.
Alternatively, have you considered the possibility that the fossilised bones in question are not vertebrae at all but actually come from a single 14-meter-long flipper of a very, very, very large ichthyosaur?
UPDATE: Example of credulous Murdoch Press coverage here. Non-credulous Pharyngula coverage here.
Will the skepticism discourage the Riddled staff from publishing "Why Squid Sculpt" in time for $mas? Yeah right.

Must credit helpful pixie ITTDGY for first trying to call the easily-distracted Riddled attention to the Berlin Death Assembly, two years ago.


Yastreblyansky said...

The evolutionary psych theory is that lady cephalopods or Krakeninnen appreciated the gesture; while the other shlub krakens just spat out their shonisaur vertebrae any old where, this one arranged them nicely, showing that he'd be handy in washing up after supper, and especially tucking in the little ones in their ocean bed, thus assuring the survival of Mrs. Kraken's genes.

Substance McGravitas said...

My ass has just become way more interesting.

Smut Clyde said...

Perhaps I can interest you in this new version of Occam's Razor, Mr McGravitas -- includes 5 blades, for a closer smoother shave!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

"Release the artistic kraken! Artistically!"

tigris said...

Hmm, regular clusters of grouped dots, eh? Did they find any soapstone carvings or five-pointed-star-shaped grave mounds?