COUNCIL CHRONICLE – The Sinosauropteryx, a small dinosaur that was also allegedly quite fluffy, became the first such species proven to have had feathers back in 1996. Some years later, in 2010, scientists also managed to fully determine its colors. Now, the latest research on the matter established that the Sinosauropteryx also had patterns on its fur and that the fluffy dinosaur probably used these as camouflage against predator and prey alike.
The Fluffy Dinosaur that Wore a “Bandit Mask”
Three fossils of this species were discovered in the northeastern Liaoning Province in China, and they were the basis of this new study. The fossils were dated as being some 124 million years old but still presented traces of pigmentation and feather impressions.
With the help of cross-polarized light, the study team managed to reveal their details, ones which cannot be observed with the naked eye. These helped establish that this fluffy dinosaur probably had a striped tail, which might have contributing to its ability to confuse or distract predators.
It also seemed to have had a band of dark-colored around it eyes, which resembled a ‘bandit-mask’. Specialists theorize that this might have been used as a way of reducing the glare of nearby waters.
The team believes that this dinosaur’s colors and patterns helped it camouflage itself from predators and also confuse its prey.
“Far from all being the lumbering prehistoric gray beasts of past children’s books, at least some dinosaurs showed sophisticated color patterns to hide from and confuse predators, just like today’s animals,” states Fiann Smithwick, the lead author and a University of Bristol paleontologist.
This continued by pointing out that detecting their exact colors and determining their utility can help offer a more definite look at this species’ predator to prey dynamics. At the same time, it can also help paint a picture of their environment and offer a new look at the Earth back then.
A paper released in the journal Current Biology presents all the study findings and research conclusions.
Image Source: Wikimedia