It is no secret that dinosaurs had their own fair share of dirty habits – most bodies can become quite disgusting, no matter what species. But dandruff? Nobody really saw that.
A new study published in Nature Communications illustrates the discovery of approximately 125 million year old dinosaur dandruff fossils. The results are not only a quick excuse for a bad head and shoulders joke, but also explain a mechanism by which dinosaurs did something almost universal: skin shedding.
"Probably nobody has thought about how dinosaurs kill their skin before," says Mike Benton, professor of vertebrate paleontology at Bristol University and co-author of the new study. The new findings "tell us that dinosaurs are like birds excreting their skin in small flakes".
The findings are from the analysis of Cretaceous feathers in China of three different dinosaur species ( Microraptor Beipiaosaurus and Sinornithosaurus ) and the early bird Konfuciusornis . Benton and his colleagues had been working with the specimens since 2007, and the characterization of the skin flakes is only their latest milestone.
All animals become molt or liberate themselves from old skin and feathers and hair so they can grow taller and grow new face environment challenges with a fresh new coat of outer fabric. Before the new findings it was very difficult to understand how the skin of the dinosaur works and how the mighty animals managed to shed it. The prevailing theory was that molting occurred in pieces in dinosaurs, as happens in their nearest modern relatives (birds and crocodiles). The skinning technique used by snakes and some lizards would have made less sense for dinosaurs because these species are more distantly related.
But during the work of the group with regular and electron microscopes, the researchers kept coming across strange white blobs all over the plumage. After further investigation with an ion beam microscope (revealing the internal structure of the flakes), the team identified the spots as corneocytes: tough cells consisting of twisted keratin fibers found in both modern birds and human scales.
We've avoided the word dandruff in scientific work because it's usually dander between people's hair, "says Benton," but that's what we see caught between the waves of feathers in the fossil Birds and dinosaurs. They are tiny flakes of surface skin that are 1
Beyond the fact that dinosaurs seem to be embarrassed to wear black clothes without a good head scrub, the detail of the Fossil's skin structure and the studied species "were warm-blooded, but not as big as modern birds," says Benton, "Flies can produce enormous amounts of metabolic heat, and modern birds use skin peeling to relieve the evaporative coldness." "Dinos, on the other hand, have more densely packed ones Corneocytes, which are not released as freely, so cooling would have been more limited by this mechanism, indicating that these dinosaurs probably produced less heat during flight, if they were even able to fly.
Danny Barta, a comparative Biology researcher at the American Museum of Natural History, who was not involved in the study calls the results "groundbreaking", especially because we have never had such clear insights into the skin of feathered dinosaurs. "
" The study confirms another common feature between non-avian dinosaurs and birds, and it's particularly exciting to see that these similarities emerge in most anatomy regions, down to the microstructural level, "says Barta.
Benton and his team plan to expand their study of feather and skin to other dinosaur specimens in the future, and see how often these traits are more pronounced in species more closely related to modern birds, but I personally hope that this work only the first in a new field of research focusing on the bad hygiene of dinosaurs – and the results that make it into the third "Jurassic World" movie – do not pretend you do not pay for Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard fight against T. Rex BO for 120 minutes