Skip to comments.Scientists study rare, intact dinosaur skin fossil to determine skin colour for first time
Posted on 05/12/2013 1:02:58 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
One of the only well preserved dinosaur skin samples ever found is being tested at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron to determine skin colour and to explain why the fossilized specimen remained intact after 70-million years.
University of Regina physicist Mauricio Barbi said the hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period (100-65 million years ago), was found close to a river bed near Grande Prairie, Alberta.
The area has a robust "bone bed" but Barbi is not yet sure why the fossil preserved so well.
"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."
Barbi said this is only the third three-dimensional dinosaur skin specimen ever found worldwide. "This fossil is fascinating because it can tell us so much about the life and the appearance of the dinosaurs in the area."
But there are almost more questions than answers, he said.
One question is whether the hadrosaur skin was green or grey, like most dinosaurs are portrayed, or was it a completely different colour. Barbi said he can use the CLS to look at unique structures called melanosomes, cellular organelles the contain pigments that control the color of an animal's skin.
"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," said Barbi. "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."
Using light at the CLS mid-infrared (Mid-IR) beamline, Barbi and CLS scientists are also looking for traces of organic and inorganic elements that could help determine the hadrosaur's diet and why the skin sample was preserved almost intact.
For the experiment, the sample is placed in the path of the infrared beam and light reflects off of it. During the experiment, chemical bonds of certain compounds will create different vibrations. For example, proteins, sugars and fats still found in the skin will create unique vibrational frequencies that scientists can measure.
"It is astonishing that we can get information like this from such an old sample," said Tim May, CLS Mid-IR staff scientist. "Skin has fat and lots of dead cells along with many inorganic compounds. We can reflect the infrared beam off the sample and we can analyze the samples to give us very clear characteristics."
May said that infrared techniques are so accurate at determining chemical characteristics that it is known as the "fingerprint region" of the light spectrum.
But perhaps the greatest question Barbi is trying to answer at the CLS is how the fossil remained intact for around 70-million years.
"What's not clear is what happened to this dinosaur and how it died," he said. "There is something special about this fossil and the area where it was found, and I am going to find out what it is."
hmmm ~ localized time dilation effect somewhere in Alberta ~ watch this space!
It’ll be interesting if they were orange or blue by some weird process...I wonder if they will still be portrayed as green/grey just because that’s how it always was done.
Ancient Giant chameleons- any color will do just fine.
I call BS for the 100 million year old canard! Something is very wrong in science of age dating!
Soon enough someone will posit the theory that all of the dinosaurs of color were killed off by white dinosaurs who were then killed off by asteroids because the universe can’t stand racism.
Who cares....If I live to 100 and my shoes last for 5000 years....What difference does it make??
As they carefully ignore the obvious answer - it hasn't been 70 million years.
The VERY FIRST thing I thought about, when I saw the article, was that there must be racism among dinosaurs.
Even in the Age of Dinosaurs, there was no ocean-front property in Arizona.
I second your motion. Their dating methods have been shown as a joke decades ago, yet we still let them get away with it.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
My first guess is that it has something to do with the cold. I’ve read stories of Soviet inmates finding frozen fish thousands of year old, which the poor starving inmates promptly ate .
You think the temperature never fluctuated in 70 million yrs?
Of course temperature changes but if it stayed below freezing the whole time then it’s preserved. Obviously that would depend on quite a bit of luck. This also explains why it is the only sample ever found.
Food deteriorates in the freezer. So you are positing that the temperature for this particular patch of earth remained constantly at an extremely deep freeze for 70 million yrs?
Btw, how do you know that even if it did remain in a constant deep freeze for 70 million yrs, it wd be this well preserved? Has there been a test case?
To find anything that has been cold for that long you almost have to leave Earth. Even Antarctica was tropical 65 million years ago. I suppose when they start to study the chemistry of the ices in the outer solar system they will find out how long spans of time causes change in the cold.
It just seems like this skin might not be as old as they theorize. Perhaps, not nearly as old.
I read about that discovery. I also encountered some evolutionists [on a thread related to it] that were as obnoxious & dishonest as anyone I have encountered anywhere on the Net. It made an impression on me. A negative one.
Dishonesty & obnoxiousness don’t necessarily go w the evolutionist territory. There’s an element of it, however, & they don’t realize how much damage they do to their cause. Anybody w the truth on their side can be honest, and a modicum of courtesy never hurts one’s cause either.
Not to conflate you w any of that. Obviously you were no part of the discussion. That is to your credit.
mdmathis6: "I call BS for the 100 million year old canard!
Something is very wrong in science of age dating!"
from the article: "why the fossilized specimen remained intact after 70-million years."
PAR35: "As they carefully ignore the obvious answer - it hasn't been 70 million years."
Bulwyf: "Their dating methods have been shown as a joke decades ago, yet we still let them get away with it."
Nateman: "My first guess is that it has something to do with the cold.
Ive read stories of Soviet inmates finding frozen fish thousands of year old..."
Fantasywriter: "Btw, how do you know that even if it did remain in a constant deep freeze for 70 million yrs, it wd be this well preserved?
Has there been a test case?"
Clearly, a lot of misunderstandings here, beginning with Fantasywriter's suggestion that those who disagree with her/him are "obnoxious & dishonest".
In fact, most of us try our best to be neither, regardless of provocations.
But the key point which everyone here needs to understand is: when you read words like "mummified" and "soft tissue" or "skin" relating to dinosaurs, then nine times out of ten those terms are used very loosely, because what they're really talking about is not organic material, but rather rock fossils.
Only rarely do these reports actually mean organic material like collagen, and never do they refer to confirmed DNA recoveries.
So in this particular case, 70-million year-old Hadrosaur "skin" is just like the rest of it: fossilized rock, in this case shaped like skin.
That's why there can be no question of material "frozen" for 70 million years -- that's not what happened.
What did happen in this case is unusual conditions allowed soft organic material to fossilize before it could naturally decompose.
As for how these ages are established scientifically, there are some dozens of independent radio-metric decay methods which form the basis for our theories about the age of Earth and its geological strata.
Allegations of occasional errors in processing certain materials notwithstanding -- they do not negate the fact that laboratories have used these techniques for decades on thousands of samples, with results which confirm basic scientific theory.
I got my IBTEIO6TYO (In Before “The Earth Is Only 6 Thousand Years Old”) by less than 10 minutes.
Although no one used those exact words...
The reason they want to determine the color of the dinosaur skin is to prove that, if it is darker than a brown paper bag, that its extinction was caused by discrimination and the legacy of slavery...
We have tropical plant and animal fossils from millions of years ago - but no modern species.
How does a young Earth creationist explain why we find tropical species from millions of years ago on Antarctica - but nothing that would be described as a modern species other than Penguins and such?
IBTEIO6TYO ? ;-)
I wondered what that was all about... "6TYO" seemed obvious, but the rest stumped me.
Would it make any difference if they were purple with pink polka dots that blinked on and off?
‘Clearly, a lot of misunderstandings here, beginning with Fantasywriter’s suggestion that those who disagree with her/him are “obnoxious & dishonest”.’
That is the most twisted, misleading & dishonest misrepresentation I have read so far.
But from you, I’d expect nothing less.
“The reason they want to determine the color of the dinosaur skin is to prove that, if it is darker than a brown paper bag, that its extinction was caused by discrimination and the legacy of slavery...”
Now that is funny. But w Obama in the WH...how far fetched is it, really? (Just kidding.)
cool and interesting.
RE: Why would anyone care?
Those who are interested in HOW LONG AGO these Dinosaurs lived would care.
You cannot replace something with nothing. Scientific explanations are useful and predictive. Creationism is useless for explaining or predicting the natural world - it is a mindset that leads nowhere and to nothing rather than prompting further innovation and discovery.
How did the marsupials all end up in Australia? How did all modern species descend from those few that could fit on a boat of known dimensions without extremely rapid and powerful evolution and common descent of species (within a “kind” that they cannot ever seem to define).
Add to that the mystery of Antarctica and plate tectonics.
It must be nice to have adherents that demand an ever higher and higher burden of evidence from the other side, but are content to never ask or answer the hard questions on their own side.
I agree with pretty much everything in your post.
I don’t care if a someone wants to believe the creation story in the Genesis is 100% factually correct. That’s a perfectly acceptable belief. It’s just you have to believe that when the universe, the earth and all the creatures on it where created, it was done with the appearance that it’s really billions of years old and that evolution is responsible for the diversity of life on earth.
Because that’s really what all the facts (scientific observations) point too.
And that’s what frustrates me with a lot of creationists. Claiming that religious belief is actually supported by science when it couldn’t be further from the truth.
That is the most twisted, misleading & dishonest misrepresentation I have read so far.
But from you, Id expect nothing less.
Sorry FRiend, but on Free Republic you get back what you dish out. ;-)
Spoken like a true Christian.
[At least, according to your version of ‘christian’]
First, perhaps you failed to notice that not only the Old Testament (i.e., Job 4:8, Hosea 8:7), but also the New (i.e., Galatians 6:7, James 3:18) speaks frequently of reaping whatsoever you sow.
Second, like any Christian I believe in forgiveness of sins, for those who confess and request it.
And you will do that when?
Third, everyone should by now notice how eager, indeed super-eager, Fantasywriter is to abandon any discussion of evolution or prehistoric critters in general, and focus instead on personal attacks on those who disagree with her/him.
So I'll say it again: if personal attacks are your game, that's fine with me -- after all, it takes all kinds -- however, you can only expect to get back pretty much just what you dish out.
If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts.
If you don’t have either the law or the facts on your side, pound on the table.
And such a belief (i.e. the ‘appearance of age’) is about as useful as ‘Last Thursdayism’ the belief that everything was created with an appearance of age and false memories last Thursday.
If one supposes that God used natural laws to create the universe - then one can develop a useful and predictive model. Thinking that the universe obeys predictable and ordered laws is indispensable to science. But if one supposes that miracles were used to create the universe - there is absolutely no useful applications that would lead to accurate predictions or further discovery.
“Sorry ... but ... you get back what you dish out.” BroJoeK
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Jesus
So, are we to understand that the reason Fantasywriter so eagerly launches personal attacks on fellow FReepers is because she/he wants to be the object of such attacks in return??
I'm pretty sure that's not what Jesus had in mind, FRiend.
Your generalizations are smears, pure & simple.
I have some beachfront property for sale if anyone is interested . . .
Intriguing that there is detailed pottery of dinosaurs, with coloring; human figures interacting with dinosaurs.
In light of the dinosaur foot and human fossilized foot prints in Glenrose, Texas, it does seem like there is reasonable evidence pointing towards co-existence at some point in time.