WHAT WOULD IT FEEL LIKE TO PAT A DINOSAUR?
New laser imaging study gets us a step closer to answering this essential question.
Palaeontologists have used laser imaging on a rock found in England in 1852 to reveal on its surface fine scales and “goosebump-like structures” called papillae on dinosaur skin.
The papillae, which have also been observed in other sauropod species, would reportedly have given the skin a “fine bumpy texture”.
The scientists suggest the ‘goosebumps’ may have helped the large, long-necked sauropods regulate body heat by increasing surface area.
“When you’re as large as a sauropod – which can exceed 30 metres in length and 50 tonnes in mass – overheating becomes a real concern simply because you have a comparatively small surface area compared to your volume,” says Nathan Enriquez, who co-led the study.
“Sauropods started getting really big in the Early Jurassic, which is about the same time that we predict these skin papillae evolved … there may be a link between the emergence of these papillae and the evolution of huge sauropod body sizes.”