Fossil Pigments Reveal the Colour of Dinosaurs

Ashley | 01 - 08 - 2022
Color of Dinosaurs

Reveal the Colors of Dinosaurs:

What was the color of dinosaurs? Were they dull like elephants or bright like giraffes? Did they have hair and feathers or were they hairless like a sphynx cat? Find out what new fossils have to say. 

Do Birds Lay Eggs of Different Colors?

Birds are the only creatures capable of laying colored eggs with or without speckles; all other egg-laying species lay plain white or off-white eggs only. Since bird genes are closely related to dinosaurs, paleontologists researched the present fossils for pigmentation. 

Pigments Reveal the Colors of Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs that walked the expanse of earth could have been very colorful from plain in primary colors to spectacular mixed shades with or without speckles, spots, and stripes. 

Can All Animals Lay Colored Eggs?
  • A. Yes
  • B. No

How Did Dinosaurs Reproduce?

There were both avian and nonavian dinosaurs in the prehistoric world. Fossils revealed that dinosaurs resorted to hiding eggs underground to protect them from predators despite being large animals. This popular claim was supported by fossil evidence.

Fossil Pigments Reveal the Colour of Dinosaurs

Most of the earlier fossil evidence indicates that dinosaurs laid white eggs for centuries before they evolved and adapted to the environment. Newer fossil evidence showed that dinosaurs began to lay eggs in open nests above the ground and eventually the eggs became pigmented to camouflage with the surrounding. 

Pigments Found in Dinosaur Fossil 

Paleontologists used Raman spectroscopy, a special technique to detect the color of dinosaurs by differentiating between pigmented cells and protein cells. The findings were peer-reviewed by several others given the close resemblance of both cells before being approved. 

Both old and new fossils proved that all avian dinosaurs began to lay colored eggs (Blue-green was the most common dinosaur color) while a few nonavian species fell in trend at some point before going extinct.     

Researchers are not sure what caused the evolution in the dinosaur’s egg-laying pattern. A few speculate that it could either be due to the lack of predators in their habitat as a result of increased population/ relocation or due to climatic changes/ chemical imbalance in the soil that affected nesting. 

The Most Famous Dinosaur

T-Rex is the king of dinosaurs undeniably but the famous dinosaur currently revolutionizing dinosaur science is ‘Big Mama’.  Big Mama was a Mongolian dinosaur fossil perched atop a nest of eggs. Initially, Big Mama was considered a brooding female. 

The latest discoveries on bone structure aligned with that of birds have revealed that Big Mama could have been a male! Pigmented eggs resembling the color of female dinosaurs could have evolved to invoke a sense of parenthood in males encouraging them to brood their nest alongside females. Therefore colored eggs could actually be the color of the mother. 

Interesting Facts about Dinosaurs

  • There is no way to find out whether dinosaurs had hair from fossils.
  • Dinosaur is derived from the Greek words deinos and sauros meaning fearfully great lizards. 
  • Dinosaurs lived on all seven continents but most of them inhabited Mongolia and Southeast Asia. 
  • Cloning a dinosaur is underway and there are a lot of chances to witness a real-life dinosaur soon.
  • While asteroids and volcanic eruptions are the major reason behind their extinction, climatic changes and new bacterial/virus lineages cleared out the remaining survivors. (The dinosaur’s immune system couldn’t bear the drastic change.)


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