Movies like Jurassic Park and other science fiction movies have led us to believe that dinosaurs were like huge upright running reptiles, brown or green in color and with scaly skin. Although in some cases this is true, Lately, scientists have found a way to find out what color dinosaurs were. Now, we no longer have the same image of these creatures, but now it is thought that they had extravagant feathers of different colors full of brilliant patterns. This has attracted the curiosity of many scientists, as well as in Supercurious and we will investigate about it.
which color were the dinosaurs?
Before specifying what color dinosaurs were, it is important to know that there were different types of dinosaurs. In addition to those with scaly skin, such as reptiles, it has now been possible to state that there were also those with feathers, such as birds.
In 1996 it was discovered in a Yixian deposit, China, the remains of a dinosaur covered in feathers. Was the sinosauropteryx (“Chinese winged lizard”), a bipedal, carnivorous theropod like the velociraptor or the Tyrannosaurus. The most striking feature of the fossils found of this dinosaur They are the curious fringes that go from the head to the tail of the animal and that it has been possible to verify that they were proto-featherswhich brings this species of dinosaur closer to birds than to mammals.
Most relevant to the question at hand, when examined under the microscope, these feathers were found to have surviving melanosomes, the tiny cellular organelles that generate melanin and therefore pigment. In other words, one more piece of evidence that the feathers of these dinosaurs were colored.
How was the investigation?
In the development of the study, melanosomes were specifically studied. They are cellular elements that are made up of melanin, the natural pigment of animals. Paleontologists from the University of Dublin in Ireland, the Open University of the United Kingdom and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology in Beijing participated in the analyses.
Such melanosomes could help tell what color dinosaurs were, since they sit within the structure of feathers and fur in modern birds and mammals. Its function is to provide the characteristic black and gray color, as well as orange and brown tones.
On the other hand, they are characterized by being highly resistant cell groups, which is why they can have a high degree of survival. That is to say, they can withstand the passage of hundreds of millions of years and maintain their cellular structure.
In that sense, the scientists analyzed two types of melanosomes that were discovered in the feathers of different birds and dinosaurs found in northeast China. According to the authors, “this is the first time that melanosomes have been reported discovered in the feathers of dinosaurs and primitive birds.”
They also added that “this is the first time that pheomelanosomes have been reported in fossil feathers, the organelles that provide the brown and grayish colors.” At the time of the study, the scientists thought that the pigment could not have withstood the passage of time and the process of fossilization. However, Vinther’s findings They verified that the pigment survives, just as it can indicate the real colors of extinct animals.
The reason is that melanin comes in many different forms, not just spheres as is customary. Therefore, each one represents and produces a different color.
We can know what color dinosaurs were
So can we know what color dinosaurs were? Right now, we can’t answer that question for every dinosaur, but if it can be affirmed that if we talk about the sinosauropteryx, the image is almost complete. And we can conclude that it was very similar to a raccoon.
These small beasts, only a meter long (including their long tails), sported a mask around their eyes, dark brown and reddish coloring on their backs, a paler brown belly, and their long tails were striped.
In their own way, It’s not too surprising that a dinosaur looks so much like a living animal to which it is unrelated.: Color patterns evolve because they work, and because they work, they evolve more than once. So the next time you think about dinosaurs, imagine that maybe there were some that looked like leopards, or had stripes like zebras, or even why not bright blue plumage like peacocks.
How can you tell what color dinosaurs were?
Today, thanks to the widespread advancement of technology, it is possible to determine the color of dinosaurs. Everything, from a method that uses a substance present in fossils, which allows to know the real pigment of a dinosaur. The technique was created by a group of scientists from the University of Bristol and Virginia Tech, where researchers have already succeeded in discovering the skin tones of small creatures such as bats, reptiles and even mollusks.
The method they use is through the analysis of melanin, a pigment that all organisms have, which gives shades ranging from black to reddish in brown tones. Evidence shows that melanin is stored in those fossils that are preserved in great condition. Among the beings that achieve this have been feathered dinosaurs, which has facilitated the reconstruction of patterns of ancient tonalities.
“The color of an animal is very informative. As for modern animals, today we can interpret information regarding what kind of environment they live in, how they protect themselves, and how they communicate with each other on the basis of color.” Explains to La Tercera, Caitlin Colleary, a doctoral student of Geological Sciences in the Faculty of Sciences at Virginia Tech University and the main investigator of the project.
As you can see now Thanks to the incredible advancement of technology and scientific tools, it is possible to determine what color dinosaurs were. In principle, it takes us away from the general idea we had of these beings that we only saw in movies. Who knows if in a few years science fiction could become reality by reviving dinosaurs. Leave us your opinions in the comments.