It’s hard to believe that Dinosaurs had Dandruff! No one was expecting this discovery.
Dinosaurs Shed Skin
According to a new study which was published in Nature Communications deeply illustrates the discovery of dinosaur dandruff fossils which are almost 125 million-year-old. This discovery throws light on the fact that the dinosaurs also shed skin.
University of Bristol’s Mike Benton who is the professor of vertebrate paleontology says that “Probably nobody much thought about how dinosaurs shed their skin before,” Professor is also the co-author of this new study. He also said that these dinosaurs were like birds. They shed small flakes from their skin.
Discovery made in China
These discoveries come from the analysis of the feathers from three species of dinosaurs which are from the Cretaceous period in China. The scientists studied three species namely, Beipiaosaurus, Microraptor, and Sinornithosaurus. The discovery also comes from an early bird Confuciusornis. The group of scientists along with Benton has been working on these specimens since 2007. It is only now that they found the skin flakes.
All animal species shed their old skin cells in many ways. The purpose of shedding the skin cells or the skin is to grow new skin and also to adapt to the environmental challenges. Before this study, there was no clear research on how the dinosaur shed their skin. The scientists thought that this process was similar to that of crocodile or birds. It was not a good idea to think that the dinosaurs shed their skins like a snake, all at once.
When the group researched the skin of the dinosaur, they always caught strange white blobs. They found these blobs were all over the plumage. It was only when the scientists studied the specks under the beam of an ion microscope that they found these specks are Corneocytes. These are the tough cells which have Keratin which is present in the dandruff of both humans and birds.
Benton said, “We did not use the term dandruff in the research papers as it is a term which refers to those skin flakes which are between the human hairs.”
He said that we kept finding these flakes in the feathers of the fossils of the dinosaurs. These were tiny flakes of 1 to 2 millimeters. According to the team of scientists who were working on the specimens, these flakes are from the Middle Jurassic period. It was a period when there were many feathery dinosaur species.
According to Benton, the species they studied were warm-blooded. According to the studies, it also seems that the flying dinosaurs did not generate a lot of heat. The cooling mechanism during the flight was minimum because the Corneocytes in the Dinos are tighter than the modern day birds.
These findings are groundbreaking. This insight about dinosaurs has never been such before, says Danny Barta, who is a biology researcher at the American Museum of Natural History. It is exciting news, and more will come in the coming years. It will also shed more light on the anatomy of the dinosaur species.