Monday, July 20, 2015

How We Know the Colors of Prehistoric Animals

Image from Vinther's 2015 paper in Bioessays.
Through their studies of bones, fossils, and geology, paleontologists have uncovered the prehistoric worlds of Earth's past. We watch movies and TV shows of computer generated versions of long-extinct dinosaurs, fish, birds, and even mammals and it seems obvious how we know about the sizes and shapes of these animals...but how do we know what their colors were like? A new scientific field is emerging, called paleocolor (or palaeo colour, if you're British), in which scientists use fossils, chemistry, cellular biology and comparative biology to reconstruct the color patterns and related behaviors of animals long since passed.

Today at Accumulating Glitches, I discuss the major findings of paleocolor and how we know what colors the dinosaurs and other long-extinct animals actually were. Check out the full article here.

Further reading:

Vinther, J. A guide to the field of palaeo colour, Bioessays, 37, 643-656 (2015). DOI: 10.1002/bies.201500018.

No comments:

Post a Comment