By Traci Watson
Surrounded by hungry predators, a little plant-eating dinosaur from the early Cretaceous did the only sensible thing. It donned camouflage.
Analysis of the exquisitely preserved fossil remains has revealed one of the most elaborate dinosaur paint jobs ever seen, including a brown back and a lighter belly. Modern-day antelope, fish and other animals have similar dark-and-light zones, which confuse predators, but this is the first discovery of such markings on a dinosaur.
“This one is unique,” says paleontologist Jakob Vinther of Britain’s University of Bristol, co-author of a study describing the fossil published in the journal Current Biology. “We can very clearly see that there are color patterns … stripes, spots.”
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