"And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man."
The Bible says that when the flood waters came upon the Earth, all living things that have the breath of life were killed. While many of them drowned, some were encased in mud while still alive, as some fossils show. What they all had in common is that they died from lack of oxygen.
Paleontologists have long noted that many animal fossils are found with their heads thrown back. This is called the "dead bird" position. Some paleontologists assumed that the fossilized creature had fallen into the water when it died where the current pushed its head back. Others suggested that when rigor mortis set in, the head was pulled back. A third suggestion was that as the body decayed, drying tendons in the back of the neck pulled it back.
A little research ruled out rigor mortis as the cause of the "dead bird" position. Experiments using tendons from several different animals ruled out the "drying tendons" explanation. Finally, a credible explanation was found. Nerve damage. Specifically, the kind of nerve damage caused by lack of oxygen. While there are several causes for hypoxia, the most common cause is drowning.
That the "dead bird" position is so common among fossils paints a picture of the death that was a result of God's judgment in the Flood. His mercy to Noah shows us His love.
Notes: Science News, 6/23/07, p. 390, C. Barry, "Jurassic CSI." For more information about the "dinosaur death pose": www.genesispark.com/exhibits/trivia/death-pose/.
Photo from the Genesis Park website.
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