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Dinosaurs – Accurate Images Now Available in Color

Posted February 24, 2010 12:01 AM by SavvyExacta

Fossils have been around for millions of years, but only recently have scientists actually been able to determine the true colors of dinosaurs. Previous depictions of dinosaurs have been guesses as to what they might have looked like. But now, pigment has been found in dinosaur fossils in China – making it possible to create more accurate renderings of the creatures.

Dino Fuzz – Feathers?

Past fossils have shown a fuzz-like material on dinosaurs. Evolution seemed to follow a track from hollow filaments to true feathers. The recent study showed fossilized melanosomes, or pigment-bearing organelles, in feathers on bird fossils and protofeathers on dinosaur fossils. Scientists argue that the melanosome-packed filaments were precursors to modern feathers.

Twenty-five dinosaurs have been found with feathers so far. Here are two that were part of the recent China discovery and thus rendered based on the pigment found:

  • Anchiornis huxleyi, a turkey-sized dinosaur that lived about 150 million years ago, is one of the first to appear from the discovery of the pigment-packed fossils.
  • Sinosauropteryx was a carnivore about three feet in length (see fossil above). It appeared to have a lot of pigment – especially its striped tail and colorful head.

Color and Dino Relationships

Did color play a role in dinosaur relationships? Perhaps it helped with visual communication. Color and texture open up many more doors to a variety of studies about dinosaur behavior. At the very least, they hope it will help them classify more species of dinosaurs and birds.

Resources:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/01/100127-dinosaur-feathers-colors-nature/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaurs

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/01/100127-dinosaurs-color-feathers-science/o/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/science/28dino.html

http://news.discovery.com/dinosaurs/mohawk-dinosaur-colors.html

http://opa.yale.edu/news/article.aspx?id=7249

http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/dinosaurs/diorama/feathers.php

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: Dinosaurs – Accurate Images Now Available in Color

02/25/2010 5:20 AM

Always been suspicious of the purple one on TV.

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#2

Re: Dinosaurs – Accurate Images Now Available in Color

02/26/2010 9:14 AM

And we believe this beause...?

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Guru
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#3
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Re: Dinosaurs – Accurate Images Now Available in Color

02/26/2010 9:22 AM

Of course, since we weren't there, we can't be 100% certain. But from http://opa.yale.edu/news/article.aspx?id=7249:

"The team closely examined 29 feather samples from the dinosaur and did an exhaustive measurement and location of melanosomes within the feathers. The team then did a statistical analysis of how those melanosomes compared to the types of melanosomes known to create particular colors in living birds, using data compiled by Matt Shawkey and colleagues at the University of Akron. The analysis allowed scientists to discern with 90 percent certainty the colors of individual feathers and, therefore, the colorful patterns of an extinct animal."

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Guru
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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Dinosaurs – Accurate Images Now Available in Color

02/26/2010 10:02 AM

Thanks for that, it explains the feather colour. Now what about the skin colour that's being touted? What basis do they have for that?

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Guru
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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Dinosaurs – Accurate Images Now Available in Color

02/26/2010 10:07 AM

I'm not sure about that. Everything I read and blogged about was recent as of January and was pretty specific to the feathers. I don't have time now to Google the skin but I imagine there's something out there...

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Anonymous Poster
#6
In reply to #2

Re: Dinosaurs – Accurate Images Now Available in Color

05/04/2010 12:49 PM

And we believe this because...?

If by this you meant, a connection between pigmentation (of proto feather or feather) and behavior of dinosaur (antecedents of birds), a clear basis for "belief" rests on the analogous connection between coloration (among other displays) and behavior in present-day birds. In particular (but not exclusively), coloration and behavior (responses) acts to help breeding birds become breeding pairs, to the exclusion of non-like species... to inhibit cross species breeding which, more often than not, is unsuccessful (hence, non-survival ...) breeding. The English (as well as US) bird literature give ample documentation .....

When it comes to what strikes closest to the truth of the matter, the growing body of evidence for dinosaur ancestry in birds makes such resort to analogy not unreasonable in determining what makes more or less greater sense for investigators to "believe."

Summarizing, the article of faith rests on scientifically valid conclusion by analogy.

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