Oldest Case Of Dandruff Found In 125-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur

Posted: May 27 2018, 7:01pm CDT | by , Updated: May 27 2018, 11:42pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Oldest Case of Dandruff Found in 125 Million Year Old Dinosaur
Prehistoric dandruff found on the skin of a microraptor dinosaur. Credit: Maria McNamara/University College Cork

The study indicates that this dandruff evolved sometime in Jurassic period

Researchers verify the presence of dandruff in the fossilized bones of a dinosaur.

A small crow-sized Microraptor from 125 million years ago had wings on all four of its limbs and a body covered in black feathers. Upon analysis, paleontologists detected tiny flakes of fossilized skin on its bones. This is the earliest known example of dandruff to date. Two other feathered dinosaurs Beipiaosaurus and Sinornithosaurus and a primitive bird called confuciusornis also revealed pieces of fossilized dandruff in their bodies. All four dinosaurs belonged to Jurassic Period, suggesting that dandruff evolved somewhere between 56 million to 200 million years ago.

"We were originally interested in studying the feathers, and when we were looking at the feathers we kept finding these little white blobs, the stuff was everywhere, it was in between all the feathers," lead author Dr. Maria McNamara from University College Cork told BBC News.

"We started wondering if it was a biological feature like fragments of shells or reptile skin, but it's not consistent with any of those things, the only option left was that it was fragments of the skin that were preserved, and it's identical in structure to the outer part of the skin in modern birds, what we would call dandruff."

The researchers traveled to China in 2012 to study fossils of feathered dinosaurs. The analysis showed how dinosaurs and early birds shed their skin. Rather than shedding their skin in one piece and at once like many modern reptiles, dinosaurs remove their skin in the form of tiny flakes. But those flakes are similar to those found in modern birds.

“The fossil cells are preserved with incredible detail – right down to the level of nanoscale keratin fibrils,” said Dr. McNamara. “What's remarkable is that the fossil dandruff is almost identical to that in modern birds – even the spiral twisting of individual fibers is still visible.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.

 

 

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