Can someone draw the orientation of the ravine and den? How were they situated in relation to each other?
Because if the den is perpendicular to the ravine, they would have had to have been ejected out of the den into the ravine somehow, right? If they had been crushed inside the den, how would they have moved forward and then sideways down the ravine (at a right angle)?
Nigel - well done on thinking outside the box! :)))
Don't you think perhaps if this was the case then the twigs/branches on the ground inside the den would have been crushed to smithereens?? How are they intact?
The theory that they fell into the ravine from above as they were walking/running along because the running water underneath created a weak spot (from below) makes the most sense to me....although the fact that three bodies are lying perpendicular to the ravine is strange - unless they were walking perpendicularily to the ravine instead of along and above it, hit the weakspot and fell.
(APOLOGIES - Thinking and typing out loud here....)
If the den is on the same ground level as the ravine, though - I don't think this one works.
About the critters eating eyeballs and a tongue....I was reading previous forum posts and have come to believe that if they were buried under snow and their faces were in running water after the thaw, then the flesh and eyeballs were consumed by microbes in the water - I think the term was "microbial activity". All sorts of weird things happen to tissue when it is submerged in water. Dubinina's mouth was open I suppose, which is why her tongue was missing. Also she seemed to have her whole head submerged and in the flow of water, while the others lay with the backs of their heads facing the flow.
Although....I read somewhere the muscle floor anchoring Dubinina's tongue was ripped out - in the autopsy it vaguely only says her tongue was missing - so if the former is true, then it was a little critter that ripped it out with some force...if the tongue was just gone with no muscle floor with it - then either she but her own tongue off or it was microbial activity.
About the eyeballs - there is evidence in the autopsies of missing tissue along the brow bones which maybe could account for animal activity.....or microbial activity since I think little teeth or beaks may have left traces in the bone (scratches)??