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In the Skin of a Dinosaur - An Unexpected Discovery

Fri., Oct. 20, 2017 3:00 p.m. - Fri., Oct. 20, 2017 4:00 p.m.

Location: CL 317

Abstract

Dinosaurs roamed the Earth for over 160 million years until their abrupt extinction about 65 million years ago. However, not all dinosaurs went extinct: nowadays birds are recognized as a branch of the dinosaur family known as avian dinosaurs. They are the legacy left by those incredible animals that came in all shapes and sizes.

In this seminar, I will discuss the incredible findings in a spectacularly well-preserved skin of a hadrosaur from the Grand Prairie region. A series of complementary data collected using tools such as synchrotron radiation and electron microscopy have been combined to yield the first ever observation of preserved cellular-shape layer structures in the skin of a large dinosaur. The results have been compared to those collected from the skins of an extant bird (chicken), (saltwater) crocodile and rat, giving the first substantial evidence of the similarities between the organic layout of the skins of extinct non-avian and extant avian dinosaurs. We go a bit further, speculating about some possible skin coloration for this specific hadrosaur specimen.

Speaker: Dr. M. Barbi, Department of Physics, University of Regina