Special specimen set to reveal colour of certain dinosaurs

The Canadian Light Source (CLS) – the country’s national synchotron research facility – is about to (sorry) shed light of a question that has had scientists stumped for many years.

Scientists at the fascility are in the early stages of testing a unique piece of 70 million year old dinosaur skin, that might reveal what colour the dinosaur originally was.

Most dinosaurs are usually portrayed as grey or green, but no-one can really say for certain what colour they were.

“If we are able to observe the melanosomes and their shape, it will be the first time pigments have been identified in the skin of a dinosaur,” Mauricio Barbi from CLS said.

“We have no real idea what the skin looks like. Is it green, blue, orange…There has been research that proved the colour of some dinosaur feathers, but never skin.”

The skin sample is from a hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period (100-65 million years ago), and is one of the very few preserved dinosaur skin samples ever found.

“As we excavated the fossil, I thought that we were looking at a skin impression. Then I noticed a piece came off and I realized this is not ordinary – this is real skin. Everyone involved with the excavation was incredibly excited and we started discussing research projects right away,” Mauricio Barbi said.

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