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Palaeontology

Prehistoric snakeskin shows signs of color

By T.K. Randall
April 2, 2016 · Comment icon 5 comments

What color were prehistoric snakes ? Image Credit: PD - Whkoh
Scientists have been able to determine the skin color of a snake that lived over 10 million years ago.
While we know a great deal about the physical characteristics of creatures that roamed the Earth in the distant past, one of the areas we know relatively little about is what color they were.

Most drawings and reconstructions of dinosaurs for instance use colors reminiscent of today's reptiles as there is simply no reliable way to derive their actual colors from their fossil remains.

Now however scientists from University College Cork have discovered preserved cell structures in the fossil of a 10 million-year-old snake that resemble the pigment cells seen in modern snakes.
By comparing the two, the researchers have been able to determine that this particular snake's back was most likely a greenish color combined with blotches of brown-black while its underside exhibited a distinctive pale, creamy shade that ran all the way along its belly.

"Instead of the organic residues of the tissues being fossilized, the entire tissue has been fossilized in mineral," said study lead author and paleobiologist Maria McNamara.

"Up until now, all attempts to reconstruct fossil color have used organic fossils - fossils where soft tissue was preserved as organic residue. Nobody had looked at mineralized fossils before."

Source: Livescience.com | Comments (5)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by MissJatti 8 years ago
so we should know in the distant future that a t-rex colour was purple or pink or.....
Comment icon #2 Posted by BeastieRunner 8 years ago
so we should know in the distant future that a t-rex colour was purple or pink or..... We already know they sounded like chickens. Might as well fully emasculate the myth with purple Rexes!
Comment icon #3 Posted by Gecks 8 years ago
Would make sense that they were similar colours to modern day reptiles anyhow to promote blending into nature
Comment icon #4 Posted by ilovejules25 8 years ago
10 million year old snake skin color resembles modern snake skin color. Shocking.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Dark_Grey 8 years ago
10 million year old snake skin color resembles modern snake skin color. Shocking. "If it ain't broke..."


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