Finally: We Know a Dinosaur’s Colors (White and “Ginger.”)
The Sinosauropteryx — a small, two-legged dinosaur covered with whiskerlike fuzz that may have predated feathers — has had its real-life colors discovered, thanks to the recently-published work of some paleontologists.
Using micrographic analysis, they discovered melanosomes — organelles that contain melanin, the same pigment found in human skin — “in the feathers and filament-like structures of fossil birds and dinosaurs from northeastern China.” Their conclusion? The Sinosauropteryx had a ginger-colored body and white stripes along its tail.
In a report released online today by the journal Nature, an international team of paleontologists and experts in scanning electron micrography infer that this dinosaur had reddish orange feathers running along its back and a striped tail.
Whereas artists have painted dinosaurs based on reasonable estimates of their appearance for some time now, this represents the first time a dinosaur’s colors have been conclusively known. ABC News describes the Sinosauropteryx’s color as “carrot” (gross!), but British outlets have used the charming word “ginger” to describe its color, so we’re sticking with that.
(via National Geographic)