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What color were Dinosaurs?

In the not too distant past the coloration of dinosaurs was a complete mystery which did have its good points: you could paint them whatever color you liked and not be wrong!

Most artists would look at modern animals and their habitat for inspiration and assume, not unreasonably, that dinosaurs were similarly colored to match their surroundings — grey elephants on the dusty plains, striped zebras camouflaged against the grassy Savana shadows, brightly colored birds, and males of all species with outrageous appendages and colorful mate-attracting plumes. However, that all changed with Anchiornis huxleyi, the first dinosaur to be fully color de-coded.

Under high-intensity microscopes, scientists discovered that its fossilized feathers preserved melanosomes — pigment-bearing cells that dictate color — and if their system is accurate Anchiornis resembled a Woodpecker with bits of Magpie and Spangled Hamburg Chicken, all topped-off with a rather fetching ginger mowhawk hairdo.

Strictly speaking, Sinosauropteryx was the first dinosaur to reveal its colors, but only partially, and no doubt more will follow. Unfortunately these color giving cells are only preserved in feathers so if your fave' dinosaur wasn't feathered you can continue with artistic licence.
References
Q. Li, K.-Q. Gao, J. Vinther, M.D. Shawkey, J.A. Clarke, L. D'Alba, Q. Meng, D.E.G. Briggs, et al. (2010) "Plumage color patterns of an extinct dinosaur".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "DinoChecker FAQ entry :: What color were Dinosaurs?"
http://www.dinochecker.com/dinosaurfaqs/what-color-were-dinosaurs›. Web access: 20th Nov 2017.
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