Placeholder Image

字幕列表 影片播放

  • This episode is supported by Squarespace

  • OK, we know a lot about dinosaurs -- like how big they were, what they ate, and even

  • how quickly they moved.

  • But there’s one question that has plagued paleontologists for decades: What color were

  • dinosaurs?

  • It might sound superficial, but trust me, it is not.

  • Because until we understand their coloration, well never be able to fully imagine dinosaurs.

  • We won’t know what they really looked like, of course.

  • But we also won’t be able to study things like camouflage or display behavior.

  • And we will never know the full extent of just how wrong the Jurassic Park movies are!

  • Thankfully, in recent years, a more complete picture of dinosaurs has come into focus -- and

  • it is in technicolor.

  • When you picture a dinosaur, the colors that come to mind probably vary, depending on how

  • old you are.

  • For much of the 20th century, for instance, dinosaurs were always depicted in drab colors:

  • gray and green and brown.

  • That’s because, back then, most experts thought that dinosaurs behaved like overgrown

  • lizards, so they probably looked like that too.

  • Starting in the 1970s, dinos started to be portrayed as having things like spots, stripes,

  • and flashy colors.

  • But not a lot of that was actually based on science.

  • Then came a major breakthrough from an unexpected place.

  • It wasn’t a dinosaur, but a fossil squid.

  • In 2006, while a graduate student at Yale, paleontologist Jakob Vinther was studying

  • a fossil squid with preserved ink sacs.

  • Those are the little organs where squids store their defensive inks.

  • And when Vinther studied them under a microscope, he saw that the sacs were filled with tiny

  • spheres.

  • Other paleontologists had seen these little blobs before, but they thought they were just

  • fossilized bacteria.

  • But to Vinther’s eye, they looked like special structures that help give animals color -- melanosomes.

  • If youve heard of these things before, it’s becauseYOU HAVE THEM!

  • Lots of animals do!

  • Melanosomes are responsible for all of your body’s coloration, from your skin to your

  • eyes to your hair.

  • Each melanosome contains some type of melanin which is a natural pigment.

  • And based on their density and distribution, they can create different colors!

  • Now, I know what youre wondering: What in the name of Charles R. Knight does a Jurassic

  • squid have to do with dinosaurs?

  • Well, you know what else has melanosomes?

  • Feathers.

  • Experts can look at the feather of a living bird, like a cardinal or a crow, and see what

  • kinds of melanosomes make that feather’s color.

  • For example, long, skinny melanosomes make black and gray, like the black you find around

  • cardinalseyes.

  • But if melanosomes are short and round, they make reddish colors, like what you see on

  • red tail hawks.

  • This information can then be used as a template for studying ancient animals.

  • So living dinosaurs are basically the color key to extinct dinosaurs!

  • In 2010, this idea was put to the test in a place that’s famous for its abundant fossils

  • of feathered dinosaurs: China.

  • There, a team of Chinese and British scientists studied what might be one of the most adorable

  • dinosaurs ever -- the chicken-sized Sinosauropteryx.

  • Sinosauropteryx was the first non-avian dinosaur to be discovered with structures of feather-like

  • fluff, back in 1996.

  • And after studying the melanosomes found in that fuzz, researchers determined that Sinosauropteryx

  • was ... ginger!

  • Its downy coat was apparently reddish brown over most of its body.

  • But, its tail was a little different - alternating between light and dark bands, giving it some

  • extra flair.

  • Vinther and his colleagues used this same technique to reconstruct the plumage of another

  • feathery, pigeon-sized dinosaur called Anchiornis

  • And it turned out, this dinosaur looked kind of like a … punk rock magpie?

  • mostly black and white on its wings and legs, with a splash of red on its top.

  • After this, the colors of more dinosaurs were soon revealed.

  • The four-winged Microraptor?

  • It had dark, iridescent plumage, kinda like a raven.

  • And one specimen of the little horned dinosaur Psittacosaurus was even found to have melanosomes

  • in its skin, revealing that the dino was dark on top and light underneath.

  • Pretty cool, right?

  • As long as a dinosaur is preserved with feathers, or some other structure that keeps melanosomes

  • intact, scientists can figure out their basic colors!

  • Now, this is all awesome and exciting.

  • But these discoveries are about a lot more than just what dinosaurs looked like.

  • They can also tell us about how they lived.

  • For example, in birds, we know that feathers aren’t just used for flight -- theyre

  • also an important part of display behavior.

  • So, little Sinosauropteryx probably didn’t have a banded tail just by chance.

  • Its flashy pattern tells us that this dinosaur may have had something to say to other members

  • of its species, like that he wanted to claim his territory, or show off how fit he was

  • for the ladies.

  • And the pattern found on Psittacosaurus -- dark-on-top and light below -- is a common phenomenon

  • seen in lots of modern animals.

  • It’s called countershading, and it would have helped this little herbivore blend in

  • while walking through the sun-dappled forest.

  • Thanks to these developments, experts are beginning to uncover the colors of many other

  • feathered dinosaurs, and new types are being found all the time!

  • So now we can start answering that question that’s been bugging us for so long.

  • And memo to Hollywood!

  • If youre planning on having a Sinosauropteryx in Jurassic World 2, now you know what color

  • it was!

  • Thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode.

  • Whether you need a domain, a website or an online store, Squarespace can help you win the internet.

  • I mean don't you want a place to post your Jurassic World II fan theories?

  • Because I want to read them

  • And Squarespace provides an all-in-one platformwith templates that let you to set up a website easily.

  • There’s nothing to install, patch or upgrade, ever.

  • And guess what? As an Eons viewer, you can start your free trial with Squarespace

  • at squarespace.com/eons and all you got to do is enter offer codeEONSto get 10% off your first purchase.

  • What do you want to know about the story of life on Earth?

  • Let us know in the comments.

  • And don’t forget to go to youtube.com/eons and subscribe!

  • Also do yourself a favor and check out some of our sister channels from PBS Digital Studios.

  • Your brain will thank you!

This episode is supported by Squarespace

字幕與單字

影片操作 你可以在這邊進行「影片」的調整,以及「字幕」的顯示

B2 中高級 美國腔

恐龍是什麼顏色的?(What Colors Were Dinosaurs?)

  • 11 2
    joey joey 發佈於 2021 年 05 月 04 日
影片單字