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  • One of the highlights of going to a natural history museum is seeing the ancient, the

  • extinct, the giant -- animals like dinosaurs are huge attractions, but the thing is

  • what you can see isn't entirely accuratethe color's all wrong.

  • Some of the first dinosaur fossils were discovered in the 17th century.

  • The discoverer thought it was part of a giant human!

  • It wasn't for nearly two centuries that scientists would realize these bones belonged

  • not to giants, dragons or pre-flood Biblical creatures, but to multi-million-year-old dinosaurs.

  • Immediately, scientists started trying to gather and arrange bones and fragments into

  • shapes and species -- many of which they (very famously) got wrong.

  • Putting bones together, and knowing what a dinosaur looks like is a big leap.

  • And that's where PaleoArt comes in!

  • Imagine for a second you have never seen a living human, no one has.

  • But someone found a fossilized skeleton.

  • You don't know much about this animal, or what it looked like on the outside.

  • What does its skin look like, does it have scales?

  • Fur?

  • Feathers?

  • What color would the skin be?

  • Would it be camouflaged?

  • Someone who looks into this, would be a PaleoArtist.

  • These artists recreate extinct animals and plants, and they're they ones who decided

  • what color dinosaur skin actually is.

  • Because tbh, no one knows.

  • In the 19th century, paleoartists took dinosaur bones; and they used contemporary giants like

  • elephants and rhinos as well as reptiles to inspire their idea of what animals would have

  • that skeleton.

  • This is how we got massive, tail-dragging animals plodding hither and thither.

  • Not accurate.

  • Over time, scientists debated the finer points of these animals.

  • Like, whether the head was held up above the body -- like a giraffe, or at body level.

  • How would they pump blood?

  • How would these bones move if they had musclesand the drawings evolved...

  • By the 1960s and 70s, dinosaurs had trimmed up, they were looking lighter and fitter -- and

  • less grey!

  • More colorful!

  • But the skin

  • THE SKIN.

  • We've found fossilized skin, and it can tell us the texture, look, and feel of a dinosaur,

  • but not color.

  • Fossilization turns dino hyde to stone -- meaning no melanin, no melanosomes, no color.

  • At least, not that we can see

  • In 2013 a Canadian scanning company took a textured bit of skin and bounced infrared

  • wavelengths off of it hoping to reveal the fossilized melanosomes -- the bits of skin

  • that hold its color.

  • They based this on earlier studies that tried to see if fossilized melanosome shapes could

  • show us what color they were.

  • People really want to know this y'all.

  • Aaaaand, they're still researching

  • They've used this method successfully with well-preserved feathers, which dinosaurs were

  • definitely covered in.

  • And FEATHERS could have had numerous colors, just like the birds dinosaurs evolved into.

  • But feathers aren't skin color.

  • Though it's maddening -- scientists are still in the dark on this.

  • Themost accurate depictionof a dinosaur (as it was billed) makes the tiny Psittacosaurus

  • look cute, andbrown -- which they found by lasers scanning the melanosomes in the

  • skin!

  • But the connection is debated.

  • And, as long as we're copying birds, coloring is often sex specific.

  • Females are brown, but males are flashy.

  • That said the shading camouflage makes this one of the most accurate dinosaur depictions

  • ever!

  • For now.

  • Ultimately, and for much of our depictive history of these animals, we've sort of

  • been… 'winging it' using data that's available at the time!

  • But everything may change soon.

  • In May 2017, a beautifully preserved fossilized nodosaur was revealedfound in a Canadian

  • mine!

  • It was basically mummified!

  • They scanned the skin and found the presence of reddish pigments!

  • RED.

  • ISH!

  • Aaand that's it so far.

  • We can't get pics.

  • They're exclusive!

  • But, I'm sure you can find them.

  • This dinosaur is gorgeous, we got the hook up on pics Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada.

  • If you notice, still no color.

  • It just looks like stone.

  • But, they scanned the skin and found the presence of reddish pigments!

  • RED.

  • ISH!

  • It's not a much, but a start!

  • In the end, the dinosaurs in your imagination was seeded by the imagination of paleoartists.

  • Their work is what created dinosaurs in movies, museums and theme parks.

  • They fill in the skin on top of the skeletons, creating this rich tapestry of ancient life

  • and for now, a fictional one

  • Thanks to HelloFresh for sponsoring this episode.

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One of the highlights of going to a natural history museum is seeing the ancient, the

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B1 US skin dinosaur accurate extinct scanning preserved

What Color Were Dinosaurs... Really?

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    joey joey posted on 2021/04/17
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