This small dinosaur had a marvelous sense of touch, detailed fossils reveal
The creature from Jurassic-period Europe had sensitive scales on its tail, which may have helped it hunt in the water at night.
A chicken-size dinosaur that lived in what is now Germany about 150 million years ago might have used sensory scales on its tail as it foraged for fish at night. These sensory organs, remarkably similar to those found on a crocodile, likely helped the animal suss out its environment as it waded across the shallow lagoons of a prehistoric archipelago that once covered Europe.
The only known fossil of the species Juravenator starki includes a largely complete skeleton and some preserved soft tissues—with skin around the tail revealing a unique pattern on the scales, as reported today in Current Biology.
“Skin only rarely preserves in the fossil record, so when we try to imagine living dinosaurs from just bones, details about