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Canada Science

Experiment Will Determine Dinosaur's Skin Color 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-color-is-my-dinosaur dept.
AchilleTalon writes "One of the only well preserved dinosaur skin samples ever found is being tested at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron to determine skin color and to explain why the fossilized specimen remained intact after 70-million years. University of Regina physicist Mauricio Barbi said the hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period (100-65 million years ago), was found close to a river bed near Grand Prairie, Alberta."
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Experiment Will Determine Dinosaur's Skin Color

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  • Quite interresting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Silpher (1379267) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @05:13PM (#43576231)

    Because this could also determine if they were feathered or not. No need for spectacular skin if feathered and probably need for colored skin if not feathered.
    Disclaimer: Not an expert

    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @05:21PM (#43576289)

      Disclaimer: Not an expert

      On Slashdot, we assume that about everyone.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        @Black Parrot

        "Disclaimer: Not an expert
        On Slashdot, we assume that about everyone."

        At least we know that you have feathers.

      • We practically require it.
    • by Webs 101 (798265) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @06:35PM (#43576699) Homepage
      It's unlikely that this creature had feathers. Feathers are only known in Coelurosauria, which is a subset of theropods that, for example, includes Tyrannosaurus but not Allosaurus.

      The hadrosaur under study is an ornithischian - a very, very distant relative that's more closely related to Stegosaurus and Triceratops. Psittacosaurus, a primitive horned dinosaur, did have tail bristles, but they appear to have been decorative for display and not feather-like at all.

      • Actually, Coelurosauria are not the only feathered dinos anymore. I think they have found feather evidence on Carnosaurs as well making pretty much all theropods likely to have been feathered.

        And let's not forget the "hairy" tail fans of the Psittacosaurus which certainly indicate that even ornithischians had non-scaly skin covering. Actually there is even more evidence of proto feather like structures in both ornithischians and saurischians.

        http://archosaurmusings.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/blah-blah-feather [wordpress.com]

    • by jbengt (874751)
      The photo in TFA clearly shows scales, not feathers.
    • The only feathered dinosaur fossils that have been found are in China, either the volcanic ash eruption was unique because it preserved the feathers or feathers were an adaptation for dinosaurs in that region.
      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        The only feathered dinosaur fossils that have been found are in China

        Hmmm, I think that you're missing several well-known genera there - and the likelihood is high that there are as-yet-undisovered feathered dinosaur genera too. I'm thinking of - minimally - Archaeopteryx - but there have been others (Sciurumimus for example) which have "integumentary structures" which appear to have been feathers. Though not necessarily "contour" feathers as Archaeopteryx has.

        Yes, the recent (last couple of decades) Chine

    • Right, well, my original mildly facetious comment seems to have attracted frothy-mouted vitriol, so I'll try again.

      No need for spectacular skin if feathered and probably need for colored skin if not feathered.

      I'm not sure about your logic. Tigers have stripey pigmented skin despite being covered in fur. Polar bears have pigmented skin despite being covered in fur. There's also an assumption that a feathered dinosaur would be covered in feathers, when they may have only had them on limbs or in prominent places for display purposes.

  • It is unfortunate that realistic dinosaur costumes aren't nearly as interesting as they were before we did all the science, and figured out that they have feathers and whatnot.

    I like the creepy, lizard-like monstrosities. We've already gone from HR Giger dinosaurs to Jim Henson dinosaurs ...so far. I worry the next step will be MLP:FIM dinos... bah.
    • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @05:34PM (#43576343)

      Not the mama!

    • Haha, imagine you're the one who has to publish that all the dinosaurs were shiny pink!

  • They were different shades of Green, some almost Brown in color. Hunters such as T-Rex had multi-colors, a mixture of Green and Brown to better blend in with the surrounding brush. The really tall Dinosaurs actually developed a mildew on their Skin due to collecting Pollen, Bird feces and other organics and being unable to bathe like their smaller counterparts. At least that's my Theory. =)

    • I'm pretty sure that the absence of any supporting evidence whatsoever disqualifies your hypotheses from the lofty title of "theory".

  • by Jagungal (36053) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @06:23PM (#43576593)

    In the past many think that Dinosaurs were most closely related to reptiles but we now know that Dinosaurs are most closely related to birds and thus may have the colour variations that one sees in birds rather than the colour variation seen in Lizards.

    • What is a Chameleon?
    • by snikulin (889460)

      Birds ARE the Dinosaurs.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        So Alfred Hithcock's "The birds" was really Jurassic Park 5 Revenge 65 million years later?

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      In the past many think that Dinosaurs were most closely related to reptiles but we now know that Dinosaurs are most closely related to birds and thus may have the colour variations that one sees in birds rather than the colour variation seen in Lizards.

      Did anyone else hear this in the voice of Richard Kiley?

    • You mean colors like this Sceloporus species relaxing in my hand. [johnbokma.com]?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Birds' color variation is typically in their feathers, not their skin.

      And birds are dinosaurs. The dinosaurs didn't become extinct, they just suffered a massive loss of biodiversity. Only a tiny tiny slice of dinosaur species made it through the extinction event, and they lead to today's birds.

      • by niado (1650369)

        And birds are dinosaurs. The dinosaurs didn't become extinct, they just suffered a massive loss of biodiversity. Only a tiny tiny slice of dinosaur species made it through the extinction event, and they lead to today's birds.

        Today's birds did not evolve from any "traditional" dinosaurs that survived the K-T event. Anatomically modern birds (Neornithes [wikipedia.org]) were already well-established in the late Cretaceous and distinct from "traditional" dinosaurs. This is why I do not like the whole "birds ARE dinosaurs!" meme because the situation is a little more complex than that.

        Yes, birds are (probably) dinosaurs, and reptiles, and chordates. Mammals are also chordates. So are amphibians. So are fish. But nobody "corrects" someone tal

        • by RockDoctor (15477)

          Today's birds did not evolve from any "traditional" dinosaurs that survived the K-T event.

          You're the first person I've encountered, other than a particularly deranged creationist from St Albans, to claim that "the birds" are descended from dinosaurs that survived either the Chixulub impact or the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (it remains to be proved that those two events are the same, though they certainly happened close together in time - within a few hundred thousand years of each other). Everyone who h

          • by niado (1650369)

            Today's birds did not evolve from any "traditional" dinosaurs that survived the K-T event.

            You're the first person I've encountered, other than a particularly deranged creationist from St Albans, to claim that "the birds" are descended from dinosaurs that survived either the Chixulub impact or the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

            I believe you misread my statement, as I did not claim that birds descended from dinosaurs that survived the K-T event - I was stating the opposite to correct the AC above. As I mentioned, no known dinosaur clades survived the extinction event, aside from the Neornithe birds (who had already been distinct from dinosaurs for some time). When discussing the extinction event (or really, any period post-Jurassic) it seems useful to call birds "birds", since they were already anatomically distinct and all other

    • by Xest (935314)

      Given that both birds and reptiles come in all sorts of colours with all sorts of patterns I can't help but feel that your post has placed me firmly back where I was before I started reading it.

  • it's beige

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 28, 2013 @06:31PM (#43576663)

    Judge them by the content of their character?

  • ...OMG Ponies! pink.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does skin color really matter? Are we still not able to look past it?

    • Re:I don't see color (Score:4, Informative)

      by rmdingler (1955220) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @09:32PM (#43577555)
      Sure we can. Right up until your daughter's of dating age.
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Sure we can. Right up until your daughter's of dating age.

        I'd be grateful if you could explain the difference between that statement and a piece of racist shit. Because I can't see one.

        "Score +5, Informative" eh? I always forget that retards get modpoints too on slashdot.

        • It is my belief the true measure of one's colorblindness cannot be adequately measured until such a time as it is up close and personal, such as the instance mentioned in the previous post. I would've expected moderation funny or perhaps interesting, but that particular vote was out of my hands. I abhor ugliness.... does this mean we're not friends anymore?
      • by cellocgw (617879)

        Sure we can. Right up until your daughter's of dating age.

        Somehow I think most of us draw the line at letting our child date a dinosaur. Doctors, ok; rich businessmen, ok; even maybe a rich businessman from the wrong (ie. other) side of the Mason-Dixon line, but no dinosaurs, dammit!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 28, 2013 @07:22PM (#43576931)

    Instead of knowing the color of their skin, I would be more interested in knowing the content of their character.

    • Damn! I *just* missed that one.

    • Their character is very stony and rigid. They're very resistant to change. They're never the life of the party, but they also won't leave unless you escort them out. All in all, having one for an acquaintance is likely to be a rocky experience.

  • That way no myths are shattered, and I would always enjoy being terrified watching Jurassic Park

    Otherwise, I'd have to lean over and tell my kids, They're probably out-of-work dinosaurs that hang out in empty Hollywood lots, waiting for the pickup truck to come get them. Same as those out-of-work 'bad ass' bikers waiting for a different pickup, but still waiting for that same type of call, for their next walk-on role.

  • Dinosaurs are purple. Everyone knows that!

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