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Dino Skin!

April 30, 2013

Like any normal person, I really love dinosaurs. If you haven’t yet, I strongly recommend you see the 3D release of Jurassic Park in theaters. I mean, HONESTLY, that movie ages like a fine wine. Plus the theme song never gets old, especially when reproduced by this genius with a melodica.


So anyway, I just read today that scientists in Canada are attempting to determine the color of dino skin. Other types of feathery dino fossils have been analyzed for color, and scientists have actually observed melanosomes in those specimens. Melanosome sounds kind of like melanin for a reason – they’re the organelles that MAKE that delightful little molecule that protects us from nasty skin cancers… called melanomas (scientists aren’t always so creative with their vocabularies lol).

Apparently, no one has really looked for melanosomes in dino skin yet because there are only three specimens available. The one they’re planning to examine was found about a year ago and it came from the duck-billed Hadrosaur. The specimen is really well preserved and it’s not even distorted or smooshed or anything from, you know, BECOMING A FOSSIL. It’s basically like fossil porn for paleontologists.

NSFW, dude.

NSFW, dude.

So their plan is to look for different types of molecules that might have conferred color to the skin of this glorious beast using a super fantastic machine called a synchotron. No, seriously, that’s its real name. It’s a gigantic particle accelerator and past that my mind starts to melt… so let’s just take their word for it. The end goal is to better understand how these creatures really looked… maybe the artists have been right all along or maybe our favorite extinct beasts were far more flamboyant than we give them credit for.

Here's hoping!

Here’s hoping!


From → Dinosawrs

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