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Heavily armored dinosaurs also had camouflage


Posted on Saturday, 5 August, 2017 | Comment icon 21 comments

The fossil is incredibly detailed. Image Credit: Machairo CC BY-SA 4.0 Machairo
Dinosaurs equipped with spikes and bony plates may have also employed camouflage to avoid predators.
Palaeontologists analyzing organic material retrieved from a nodosaur fossil dating back over 110 million years have discovered that this prehistoric plant-eater relied on more than just physical defenses to keep it safe from predatory dinosaurs.

Its chainmail-like armor, far from exhibiting the dull monotones commonly portrayed in artwork, was actually a distinct red and white color that would have acted as a form of camouflage.

"[Rhinos] also have horns and they can use those to dodge predation and things like that, but rhinos don't have counter-shading and the reason is nobody messes with them," said study co-author Jakob Vinther. "They have lost camouflage - they don't need it."

"That [this nodosaur] is camouflaged means that it still was experiencing predation regularly - these animals got gobbled up and eaten by the large theropod dinosaurs. Things were scary back then."

The fossil that was analyzed for the study, which is pictured above, was unearthed in the Suncor Millennium Mine in Canada and is so well preserved that it almost looks like a statue.

"There is always so much hyperbole when a new dinosaur is discovered, but this one deserves all of the superlatives," said palaeontologist Stephen Brusatte from the University of Edinburgh.

"It is one of the most gorgeous, best preserved skeletons I've ever seen."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (21)

Tags: Dinosaur

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by Carnoferox on 3 August, 2017, 20:28
He got plucked! 
Comment icon #13 Posted by Claire. on 3 August, 2017, 22:45
Some photos from Live Science. I can't get over what an amazing find this is. The dinosaur looks like some sort of mythical beast. I'm sorry we don't have anything like it around anymore.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Tatetopa on 5 August, 2017, 18:36
Rhinos lost counter shading because they don't need it, lions, hyenas, and leopards don't mess with them as the article implies. You know the implications for having a  larger than rhino, heavily armored  herbivore around  that also thinks hiding is a good idea  hmmm?  
Comment icon #15 Posted by Tatetopa on 5 August, 2017, 18:39
It is wonderful though.  I am sure it is only a matter of time before Ken Ham improves his ride-able models in the Kentucky Noah's Ark.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Carnoferox on 5 August, 2017, 20:21
It is evidence that there was a large predator in the environment, probably a carcharodontosaurian similar to Acrocanthosaurus or Siats.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Tatetopa on 6 August, 2017, 0:18
Excellent, you have put a name on my fear.  Woodsman's instinct:  if you see a bear cub, get away, the mother may not be far.  If you see a large armored and camouflaged herbivore crouching in the underbrush, start looking for a carcharodontosaurian  in hunting mode.  It might be assumed that a human would make an acceptable hors d'oeuvre before tackling a nodosaur.
Comment icon #18 Posted by glorybebe on 6 August, 2017, 2:41
I really, really want to go there this summer or fall.  I want to see this guy with my own eyes
Comment icon #19 Posted by Ozfactor on 6 August, 2017, 3:25
In these photos there is an illustration showing a living nodosaur and in the background is a dead nodosaur being eaten by 2 trex looking dinosaurs, but my dinosaur identification skills are very basic , do they know what dinosaurs hunted the nodosaur because its armour was very impressive , those horns are something else !
Comment icon #20 Posted by Carnoferox on 6 August, 2017, 5:05
The carnivorous dinosaurs shown eating the nodosaur are carcharodontosaurs of some type, probably based on Acrocanthosaurus. Carcharodontosaurs were the main predators in North America during the Aptian stage of the Late Cretaceous when Borealopelta lived.
Comment icon #21 Posted by newbloodmoon on 8 August, 2017, 6:03
Ninja tanks... gotta love them.


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