Dinosaur age fossils colour discovery

This video is called DINOSAUR FOSSILS – THE ONE THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (Documentary).

From AFP news agency:

Traces of pigment on dinosaur fossils a first clue to their skin colour

Traces of pigment in reptile fossils may lead to recreations of how extinct beasts looked

Sunday, 12 January, 2014, 3:36am

What did Tyrannosaurus rex really look like?

Depending on which artist’s impression you look at, the carnivorous king of the Cretaceous was a dull grey, an earthy brown, or maybe a dark green.

But now, new insights into prehistoric fossils, published last week, may one day help determine what the great dinosaurs looked like in real life.

Scientists have uncovered the first traces of pigment in reptile fossils – a dark hue found in three extinct deep-sea beasts distantly related to today’s leatherback turtle.

“This is the first time that… remains of original pigments have been detected in any (extinct) reptile, including dinosaurs,” Johan Lindgren of Sweden’s Lund University said.

The next challenge will be to identify more pigments, helping palaeontologists to reconstruct the colouring of extinct animals.

“This finding potentially allows us to reconstruct the colours of T. rex in future,” said Lindgren, though for now experts are limited to distinguishing dark areas from light ones.

Lindgren and colleagues studied molecular remains found on the skin of three marine monsters. The samples came from a forerunner 55 million years ago of the leatherback turtle; a giant, finned lizard known as a mosasaur dated to 86 million years ago; and a toothy dolphin-like reptile called an ichthyosaur, around 190 million years old.

The remains took the form of structures a micrometre (a millionth of a metre) in size that, according to previous studies, were either pigment traces or the vestiges of bacteria.

The new investigation claims to have settled that debate with in-depth microscopic analysis – revealing the remains to be traces of the most common skin pigment, melanin.

Colouration in animals serves multiple purposes – from camouflage or sexual display to UV protection and heat retention. Little is known about the colouring of long-extinct animals, given that pigmentation is carried in quickly decaying skin. But sometimes, as in this case, scientists are lucky to find soft tissue preserved as an “organic film”.

The team pointed out there was a close correlation between the amount of melanin in skin and how dark the skin’s colour is.

The fossil tissue of all three extinct sea beasts contained very tightly packed pigment granules. This led the scientists to conclude the creatures had “an overall dark colouration” similar to that of the modern leatherback turtle, whose top is almost entirely black, said Lindgren.

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4 thoughts on “Dinosaur age fossils colour discovery

  1. Pingback: 9-year-old Japanese boy finds shark tooth from age of dinosaurs | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Crocodile fossil from dinosaur age discovered | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Stingray fossil, 100 million years old, for sale | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: How dinosaurs originated | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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