Are we really going to talk about dinosaur dandruff? Isn’t that a bit weird?
Researchers had recently discovered the oldest case (that they know of) of dandruff. It was found in a little dinosaur with feathers, that is known to have walked the Earth about 125 million years ago.
Scientists found some fossilized skin on a Microraptor, which had the size of a crow. A Microraptor is a dinosaur that ate meat and had wings on each of its limbs. They made tests on other two feathered dinosaurs, called Beipiaosaurus and Sinornithosaurus, and also on a primitive bird, called Confuciusornis. It was found fossilized dandruff on their bodies, too, as said by The Guardian. The skin flakes are the only pieces of evidence that scientists found regarding dinosaurs shedding their skin.
As Maria McNamara said, this is the only evidence they have of fossil dandruff. Up until this point, they didn’t know how (if?) the dinosaurs shed their skin.
How did they find out?
The images of the dandruff were taken by a powerful electron microscope, and they show that the dandruff is well-preserved and that it’s almost as if it were identical to the dandruff found on modern birds.
Precisely like human dandruff, skin flake is made out of stong cells called corneocytes – they’re full of protein keratin.
The report was published in Nature Communications and shows that dinosaurs which were covered in feathers evolved skin in order to manage with their plumage from the middle of Jurassic. It’s fantastic how they were in the early stages of evolution when it comes to feathers an still managed to adapt their skin to this modern structure, as McNamara said.
The remains of the animals, the fossilized parts, where picked up in northeastern China. The Beipiaosaurus and Sinornithosaurus had 2 meters long, growing almost twice the size of the Microraptor.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca