Psittacosaurus dinosaur’s camouflage colours discovered


This video from Germany says about itself:

3D camouflage in an ornithischian dinosaur

16 September 2016

We sat down in the Senckenberg Museum, Frankfurt, with Dr Jakob Vinther, University of Bristol, to examine the colour patterns of Psittacosaurus. This exquisite fossil has its skin preserved intact and so we’re able to make inferences about the environment in which it used to live.

Paper available here.

From Current Biology, 26 September 2016:

3D Camouflage in an Ornithischian Dinosaur

In Brief

Countershading camouflage uses a dark-to-light gradient from back to belly to counter the light-to-dark gradient created by illumination. The body appears flatter and less conspicuous.

Vinther et al. use 3D reconstruction and radiance modeling to show that the dinosaur Psittacosaurus was countershaded and cryptic in a forested environment.

Highlights

Preserved pigments in the dinosaur Psittacosaurus suggest countershading camouflage

We predicted the optimal countershading camouflage for different light environments

The dinosaur’s patterns would have been cryptic in a forest, but not open, habitat

We can also infer that dinosaur predators used shape-from-shading cues to detect prey

See also here.

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