New dinosaur could have seemed like a raccoon

Sinosauropteryx’s plumage sample suggests it lived in an open habitat 130 million years in the past (artist’s impression). (Credit score: Robert Nicholls)

Think about this: a big, feathered reptile with daring stripes and a colourful, raccoon-like face. Sound like one thing you’d most likely see roaming around the globe of Pokemon, proper? Properly it’s actual, or no less than it was. It’s known as a Sinosauropteryx, and it lived right here on Earth some 126 million years in the past.

The very first Sinosauropteryx fossil was really found method again within the mid 1990s, and it shook up your complete picture of dinosaurs because of its obvious feathery coat. Now, a brand new badysis effort to study extra in regards to the historical species has given scientists a greater understanding of precisely what it seemed like, and man is it a weirdo.

Utilizing the preserved stays from three completely different Sinosauropteryx fossils, paleontologists from the College of Bristol have been ready to determine the colours of the dinosaur’s fancy feathers. They discovered that its physique was a lightweight amber coloration, with lighter, off-white stripes that curled up and across the aspect of its streamlined head. With darkish areas round its eyes and a lighter coloured underbelly, it appears to be like an entire lot like a raccoon, solely in dinosaur kind.

The badysis is fascinating not simply because it offers us a good suggestion of what the dinosaur seemed like, but in addition as a result of it might supply nice clues as to what the setting additionally seemed like on the time. Assuming the dinosaur’s sample and coloring helped it mix into its environment, it’s not a stretch to suppose that the Sinosauropteryx spent its time in areas very similar to these of recent day animals that share related coloration patterns, like gazelles.

“We knew earlier than that its feathers have been vibrantly patterned, however this research exhibits that it was countershaded and even striped,” Dr.  Steve Brusatte of the College of Edinburgh instructed the New York Occasions. “These findings breathe life into this dinosaur.”


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