Researchers from the University of Bristol, Frankfurt, and Hong Kong have teamed up with palaeoartist Bob Nicholls to create the most accurate reconstruction of a dinosaur, preserving skin and color patterns. The camouflage patterns on this fossil include countershading, which functions by counter illuminating shadows on the body of an organism. This pattern is closely related to the habitat and light environment that the animal lives, in and so Vinther et al. have used experiments to infer the conditions in which this countershading would have functioned optimally. Their conclusion is that this small dinosaur lived in a forest. This is the first time a fossil color pattern has been used to infer a dinosaur’s habitat.
Check out the paper at http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(16)30706-0.
J. Vinther, R. Nicholls, S. Lautenschlager, M. Pittman, T.G. Kaye, E. Rayfield, G. Mayr, and I.C. Cuthill (2016). 3D Camouflage in an Ornithischian Dinosaur. Curr. Biol. 26.
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