Dinosaurs Also Used Camouflage To Hide From Predators

Posted: Aug 4 2017, 6:24pm CDT | by , Updated: Aug 4 2017, 6:31pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Dinosaurs Also Used Camouflage to Hide from Predators
An illustration of the 110-million-year-old nodosaur discovered in Alberta, Canada. Credit: Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
 

The analysis of 110-million-year-old armored dinosaur also reveals that it is a new species of dinosaur

Extremely well-preserved dinosaur fossil shows evidence that it used camouflage to hide from predators. 

The dinosaur fossil was recovered from Alberta Canada in 2011 and sent to Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum for detailed analysis. The specimen belonged to an armored plant-eating dinosaur from cretaceous period that lived around 110 million years ago. 

Now, almost six years laters, researchers confirm that it is a new genus and species of armored dinosaur. It has been named Borealopelta markmitchelli, in honor of Mark Mitchell, the museum technician who spent thousands of hours removing rock from around the specimen to reveal the remarkably well preserved dinosaur fossil inside.

Analysis further suggest that nodosaur also wore camouflage to protect itself from predators, despite the fact that it was 18 foot long and was as massive as a tank, weighing in at more than 2,800 pounds. Its skin exhibits a common form of camouflage called countershading in which an animal's underside is lighter than its back and use it to disguise predators in plain sight.

“Strong predation on a massive, heavily-armored dinosaur illustrates just how dangerous the dinosaur predators of the Cretaceous must have been.” Caleb Brown, a scientist at the Royal Tyrrell Museum said in a statement.

The specimen was discovered by accident on March 21, 2011 while a mining machine operator Shawn Funk was carving his way through the earth. He noticed there is something unusual about the rock formation but it turned out be the fossil remains of a dinosaur. The specimen was the best preserved fossil of its kind ever found. It was so well preserved that its still has skin and scales. The dinosaur was possibly swept by a flooded river into the open sea. The undersea burial preserved the dinosaur remains in exquisite detail. 

"This nodosaur is truly remarkable in that it is completely covered in preserved scaly skin, yet is also preserved in three dimensions, retaining the original shape of the animal," said Brown. "The result is that the animal looks almost the same today as it did back in the Early Cretaceous. You don't need to use much imagination to reconstruct it; if you just squint your eyes a bit, you could almost believe it was sleeping... It will go down in science history as one of the most beautiful and best preserved dinosaur specimens—the Mona Lisa of dinosaurs."

The condition of the specimen allowed researchers to document the pattern and shape of scales and armors across the body. Researchers found that specimen had reddish-brown-pigments with countershading skin. Although these clever patterns of skin pigmentation have been commonly used by many modern day animals for protecting themselves from predators in plain sight, the findings come as surprise because Borealopelta's were too large and heavy than today’s animals.

"The specimen is certainly amazing. It’s an absolutely awesome paleontological discovery,” said Alison Moyer, a researcher at Drexel University who studies studied fossilized soft tissues. “The study relating to the pigmentation and coloration – and, therefore, conclusions about predator-prey relationships – is kind of flooded with issues.”

 

 

This story may contain affiliate links.

Comments

The Author


Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

Advertisement

comments powered by Disqus