Researchers at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) particle accelerator are hoping to answer the once and for all the burning question of just what color dinosaurs were, and in the process, make millions of kids who use the wrong kind of crayons to shade in the triceratops in their dinosaurs coloring book look like idiots.
What color dinosaur skin was remains largely a mystery, as dino-hide fossilizes poorly, meaning that there are just a handful of examples of fossilized dinosaur skin in the entire world. Now, one of them — a chunk of hadrosaur skin found in a bone bed in Alberta, Canada — is getting an unheard of treatment. Researchers at CLS are looking to uncover what color the hadrosaur was in life by bombarding its remains with infrared light. How the light bounces off the sample should show researchers what chemicals were present in the animal, including chemicals that wuold have colored its skin brown, grey, green, or (we’re hoping) blue with bright orange polka dots.
The hope is that the tests will turn up the remains of melanosomes, pigment producing organelles that could offer clues to the color of the hadrosaur’s skin before it became a rather scientifically important rock. The research isn’t just interested in the aesthetics, though. CLS experiments could also turn up clues to things like what the hadrosaur’s usual diet was and may even offer some insight on what it was about this skin that helped it survive for millions of years while so many other samples have been destroyed by the passage of time.
(via Global News)
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