A Model That Illustrates How Animals Are Sorted Into Groups Colour Coded Dinosaurs

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Colour Coded Dinosaurs

Scientists aim to discover the colors of dinosaurs

We’re used to seeing dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals depicted with glorious technique on our television screens, in movies and books, but scientists actually know very little about the coloration and markings of dinosaurs and other ancient animals. Illustrations of dinosaurs, for example, are created using a basis of guesswork, guesswork, and comparison with living organisms. Most Sauropods (long-necked dinosaurs) are often depicted as dull grey, or brown similar to the color of elephants, but we have no real evidence to support this. The assumption has almost always been that when you’re a 30-foot, 15-ton Diplodocus, it wouldn’t make sense to have a camouflage coloration, you’d just be too big to hide.

New scientific evidence

However, a paper published in the scientific journal “Biology Letters” by a group of American researchers sheds light on the coloration of long-extinct creatures that may one day help paleontologists understand the colors of dinosaurs.

A team of paleobiologists and other researchers at Yale University have studied the color nuances of fossilized 100-million-year-old bird feathers, and their findings may allow scientists to interpret other fossil structures and create a color image of the animals. long and dead. If the team’s interpretations are correct; then those dinosaurs that have been preserved with an undercoat or feathers can be studied and their markings and coloration extracted.

The color of dinosaurs has long been debated, we at Everything Dinosaur do exercises in schools where we have students interpret the fossil evidence for the size and shape of dinosaurs and the environment in which they lived. From this work we make them draw the dinosaur and color it. A kind of detective story about dinosaurs, where the guesses of 8-year-olds can be considered almost as scientifically valid as the statements of the most meritorious professor.

Edmontosaurus with gang

There was excitement when an analysis of fossilized skin from the tail area of ​​Dakota, the exquisitely preserved Edmontosaurus mummy (the subject of a recent television documentary), showed that the animal may have had colored bands running down its tail. Such well-preserved dinosaur fossils are extremely rare and any actual coloration can only be speculated at this stage as the colors will have been altered and affected by the fossilization process.

The Yale University team analyzed fossil feathers from Brazil and Denmark and made comparisons with the feathers of modern birds (Neornithines). Their findings show that some fossilized bird feathers preserve microscopic components that when analyzed and interpreted can reveal feather color.

Fossil feathers had streaks, these could easily be seen, but these marks were thought to be the result of bacterial processes or geological effects during the period of preservation and fossilization.

Melanosomes can reveal the color of animals and birds

The research team aimed electron beams at a fossil bird feather to reveal strange sausage-shaped structures believed to be responsible for the feather’s color. The species of bird from which the fossil feather came is unknown, but similar microscopic structures have been found in modern feathers, and their shape, composition, and orientation create colors and patterns. By analyzing these tiny packets, scientists hope to be able to create a picture of the color of the extinct creatures.

These structures are called melanosomes, and their analysis can help paleobiologists understand the feather colors of fossil dinosaurs, plus the color of mammals’ fur.

Prehistoric animals with color vision

Since birds and crocodiles have color vision, scientists have long thought that dinosaurs as relatives of these two extant groups would also have color vision. Being able to interpret the color of certain fossils will allow paleontologists to create a more accurate picture of what some of these animals looked like. It will also provide evidence of sexual dimorphism in species, and even help identify males and females within a species.

Data on animal behavior

Understanding an animal’s colors and markings will also provide clues about the animal’s behavior. Pale colors may indicate the importance of display, perhaps for breeding, courtship or other social purposes, while tones such as green and brown would help these animals hide from predators.

How melanosomes survived the fossilization process is not fully understood, most organic materials, including DNA, decompose quickly and do not survive the preservation process. However, as our understanding of genetics improves and new techniques to analyze fossils are introduced, we may be able to produce accurate illustrations of long-extinct animals.

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