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SilverCougar

Dino Skin Preserved in Rare Fossil Find

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http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2006/11/21/d...w19-502-ak-0000

Nov. 21, 2006 — In the past, what we've learned about dinosaurs has been mostly based on bones. That might soon change with the recent discovery of an extremely well preserved, 67-million-year-old duckbilled dinosaur found with fossilized skin in the Hell Creek Formation of Montana, according to a North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences press release.

The near-complete remains may yield precious soft tissue, thanks to a technique that recovered structures resembling blood cells in a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton last year.

"We've only been looking at one thing in the past, the dinosaur skeletal system, but we could learn so much more if we could study their circulatory system and other body systems," Vince Schneider, curator of paleontology at the museum, told Discovery News.

More than 80 percent of the Edmontosaurus annectens skeleton has been recovered so far, he said, and even more bones likely still exist at the Hell Creek site. The skeleton — missing only an arm, a few toes and a few other bones — is estimated to be among the top five percent most complete dinosaur specimens worldwide, said Schneider.

The large piece of fossilized skin once covered the adult dino's back right hip.

Julia Clarke, a North Carolina State University assistant professor of paleontology, worked on the dig. She told Discovery News that the skin is preserved in three dimensions, which is extremely rare.

"The skin appears to have internal structures inside of the scales," Clarke said. "These could be some kind of ligament attachments."

"A CAT scan of the skull, since it's so complete, could reveal the brain cavity, which could then tell us about the shape of its brain," said Richard Kissel, a dinosaur education specialist at the Field Museum in Chicago, who is not involved with the research. "It might then be determined how good the dinosaur's sense of smell and eyesight were."

While little is known about the prehistoric animal's life, the placement of the bones suggests how it died.

"It wound up in fine sandstone stream sediments," Schneider explained. "It probably drowned crossing at high flow. We haven't found any tooth marks yet suggesting a predator attack."

During the late Cretaceous period, said Schneider, this part of Montana was probably a large river delta that opened into an inland sea. Dinosaurs flourished there, as evidenced by numerous finds that have included T. Rex, Triceratops, and other types of dino fossils.

Evidence also suggests a lush forest with hardwood vegetation and leafy plants once stood there.

"The food supply must have been ample, since these dinosaurs ate a lot," Schneider said. "Our specimen, which would have measured about 24 feet long and was the size of a small elephant, probably weighed between one to two tons."

More knowledge!

A near full skeleton.. and fossilized skin, rather nice.

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Fascinating that the skin was fossilized...

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It was only with rare skin imprints was it found that Sauropelta had boney plates in its skin. Amazing!

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It was only with rare skin imprints was it found that Sauropelta had boney plates in its skin. Amazing!

This isn't the first Duckbill with a large portion of its skin preserved. It is interesting that this species preserves the skin so well, but it may actually be that the ground conditions where these dinos are found is the reason.

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Especially peat.

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very cool. I wish they had a picture of it.

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Dino Skin:

IPB Image\

IPB Image\

Edited by frogfish

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Wow thanks. That is awesome!!!!

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Amazing but rare. :)

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I took a paleobiology class back in high school about 1972.

Back then, our teacher said that a few fossils revealed skin patterns of dinosaurs. He said we know a little bit about most aspects of them, except their sound and color.

I don't know why, but those two unknown characteristics always intrigued me.

Some paleontologists have claimed to mimic the sound of some dinosaurs by forcing air through cavities in their skull. The claim is that large, hollow areas of the skull were used to create sounds for mating, territory and so on.

I don't know. Sounds like a stretch to me but who am I to argue with a PhD?

I wonder what color the dinosaurs were? Green? Tan? Red? Yellow with purple polka dots? :lol:

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I took a paleobiology class back in high school about 1972.

Back then, our teacher said that a few fossils revealed skin patterns of dinosaurs. He said we know a little bit about most aspects of them, except their sound and color.

I don't know why, but those two unknown characteristics always intrigued me.

Some paleontologists have claimed to mimic the sound of some dinosaurs by forcing air through cavities in their skull. The claim is that large, hollow areas of the skull were used to create sounds for mating, territory and so on.

I don't know. Sounds like a stretch to me but who am I to argue with a PhD?

I wonder what color the dinosaurs were? Green? Tan? Red? Yellow with purple polka dots? :lol:

The closest "reptile" relatives of dinos, that share many characteristics, are the crocodilians. Several dinos have the same kind of bony studs. Crocodilians generally have skin colors to serve as camouflage, which makes sents whether you are a hunter or the hunted. And even a baby T-Rex was fair game to other dinos, possibly even cannnibal relatives.

Crocs are actually more closely related to birds and dinos than they are other reptiles like lizards. Crocs, Birds, and Dinos, are archosaurs, and technically, crocs should not be included as reptiles since they are more closely related to birds.

I recall in books a reconstructed T Rex based on a nile crocodile, same color, eyes, etc, and it looked very convincing, but until we either invent a time machine or can clone them, no one will ever know for sure what colors they came in, or what they sounded like. Crocodilians also bellow, and no reason dinos wouldn't do the same.

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Like DC said, our best guesses are to look at their closest relatives...

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