Apparently paleontologists are exempt from the age-old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover,” at least when they are trying to identify a dinosaur. Phil Bell, at the University of Alberta, just made it a little easier for fellow paleontologists around the world to identify new dinosaurs. How? Bell discovered that a close study of dinosaur skin impressions can tell researchers what kind of dinosaur that skin belonged to. Bell’s finding came to him while he was looking at skin impressions from duck-billed dinosaurs, also known as hadrosaurs. Bell compared the scale patterns of hadrosaurs from Mongolia with those from Canada, and found that the skin of the two looked different. Why? The two hadrosaurs that hailed from two different continents were in fact two different species, a fact previously confirmed by analysis of the bones. Paleontologists hope to use skin impressions in differentiating other species of ancient creatures.

Read more at Canada.com.

Find the original article in the journal PLoS One.

Published On: February 29, 2012

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