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Dinosaurs in Color

What color were dinosaurs? For years the answer to this question was a complete mystery. Paleoartists often restrained themselves from getting too wild with the colors they chose when making dinosaur reconstructions, often staying within a palette of greens, browns, and grays. But now, thanks to new advances in science, we have been given our first glimpse into dinosaur colors.

Scientists have analyzed pigments preserved in dinosaur feathers, called melanosomes, and have been able to discover what colors a few dinosaurs were! Research revealed that some feathered dinosaurs sported shades of red, brown, black, white, and some were even iridescent! This was a major breakthrough in dinosaur paleontology, as it was long believed we'd never know the color of any dinosaur.

Though we believe we've found the colors of a few feathered dinosaurs, the colors of other dinosaurs remains a mystery. Paleoartists still have to speculate about the colors of most dinosaurs. But speculation is a big part of what paleoartists do. They can draw inspiration from their imagination, as well as looking at the colors and patterns seen on animals alive today.

Perhaps some dinosaurs sported colors that aided in camouflage. Perhaps there was color differentiation between sexes in some species. Dinosaurs probably had a variety of colors and patterns, just like modern day animals. I think paleoartists shouldn't be afraid to experiment with colors when reconstructing dinosaurs.

I decided to go bold on this ink and colored pencil rendering of a Bahariasaurus.

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Jun 27, 2021

Wow Zach, this is fantastic! Very well written and we love the colors on the Bahariasaurus.

Granny says put that on a t-shirt for her.

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