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Dinosaur scales found in 125 million year old tiny beast



dinosaur scales? Yes, you read that correctly.

The researchers discovered what they consider to be the oldest known case of dandruff in a tiny feathered dinosaur that roamed the earth some 125 million years ago.

Paleontologists found tiny flakes of petrified skin on a crow-sized microraptor, a carnivorous dinosaur that had wings on all four limbs.

Tests on two other feathered dinosaurs, Beipiaosaurus and Sinornithosaurus, and a primitive bird known as Confuciusornis also revealed pieces of fossilized scales on the bodies of animals, the Guardian reports.

Ancient skin flakes are reportedly the only evidence Researchers have shown how dinosaurs shed their skin.

"This is the only known fossil dandruff," said Maria McNamara, who worked on the dinosaur fossils at University College Cork, the Guardian. "So far, we have had no evidence of dinosaurs shedding their skin."

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Pictures of dandruff, taken with a strong electron microscope, show that the material is very well preserved and is almost identical to that found on modern birds. Like human dandruff, the skin flakes are made of tough cells, called corneocytes, that are full of protein keratin.

The work published in Nature Communications suggests that dinosaurs that carried feathers developed skin to cope with their plumage in the middle Jurassic.

"Although they are in the early stages of spring development, they have already adapted their skin to this more modern structure," said McNamara.

The fossilized remains of the animals were found in northeastern China. With a length of 2 meters Beipiaosaurus and Sinornithosaurus grew more than twice as large as the Microraptor.

Christopher Carbone is a reporter for FoxNews.com. It can be reached at christopher.carbone@foxnews.com or on Twitter @christocarbon .


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