facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Rhino fossil shows animal cooked to death

Nov. 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM   |   Comments

MONTPELIER, France, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- A fossil rhino skull shows the animal was "cooked to death" and preserved by a volcanic eruption 9.2 million years ago, French paleontologists say.

Writing in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers from the University of Montpellier, France, said the fossil, found in Turkey, is that of a large two-horned rhino common in the Eastern Mediterranean region during that period.

Unusual features of the preserved skull suggest the animal died in extremely high temperatures in a volcanic flow similar to that of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy in A.D. 79.

"The body was baked under a temperature approximating 400 degrees centigrade (750 degrees Fahrenheit), then dismembered within the pyroclastic flow, and the skull separated from body," the researchers led by Pierre-Olivier Antoine wrote.

Organic matter near an active volcanic eruption is usually quickly destroyed by the high temperatures making a fossil such as the prehistoric rhino extremely rare, they said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Mars rover spots rock shaped like thigh bone
2
Birds lost their sweet tooth, hummingbirds got it back
3
Parched land in the drought-riddled West is actually rising
4
Tech industry All Stars developing 'Star Trek'-style communication badges
5
Fish can smell a bad coral reef
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback