Sunday, 12 January 2014

Fossil pigments reveal the colours of ancient sea monsters


An international team of scientists has, for the first time, revealed the colour scheme of an extinct marine animal using fossilised skin pigment from three multi-million-year old marine reptiles.

Previously, scientists could only guess what colours huge reptiles, such as mosasaurs and ichthyosaurs had; however, pigment preserved in fossilised skin has now been analysed at SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden and MAX IV Laboratory at Lund University in Sweden. The unique soft tissue remains were obtained from a 55 million-year-old leatherback turtle, an 85 million-year-old mosasaur and a 196-190 million-year-old ichthyosaur.

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