Dinosaur-Era Swimming Reptiles Had Black Skin
Fossilized skin reveals color of ancient marine reptiles for the first time.
Black has never been out of fashion, suggests a new study that reveals the color widely worn by marine reptiles for nearly 200 million years. (See also "True-Color Dinosaur Pictures.")
Over the last decade, paleontologists have refined chemical analyses of ancient creatures' hides and feathers, finding evidence of coloration in everything from ancient dinosaurs to penguins. In a new Nature study, Johan Lindgren of Sweden's Lund University and colleagues set out to investigate the hues of ancient sea creatures.
Looking widely across time, the study sampled fossilized skin from three ancient marine reptiles: a 55-million-year-old leatherback turtle, a 86-million-year-old mosasaur, and a 196-million-year-old ichthyosaur. The latter two species are, of course, extinct.
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