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    Thread: Scientists Now Able to Determine Pigment/Color Scheme of Extinct Animals

    1. #1
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      Scientists Now Able to Determine Pigment/Color Scheme of Extinct Animals

      Last edited by Oneironaut Zero; 07-01-2011 at 04:14 PM.
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      Xei
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      Awesome...

      Dibs on pterodactyls being bright purple.

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      Cool, show me some brightly coloured dinosaurs

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      LOL funny that everyone's thinking similar things. I can almost guarantee they're not all brown and grey and shit like they've been drawn since we discovered them.

      Damn this shit is amazing!

      I might try and contact the scientists and get some info to see if I can draw some of em.

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      Did anyone even read the article? Based on the comments, methinks not.

      The presence of pigment must not be confused with color, as even with a specific pigment being recognized, there are/were many factors that contribute to an organism’s entire color palette.
      Find me anywhere it talks about being able to determine an animal's color.

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      I read the article. The title of the article is misleading.
      I think that ALL of the dinosaurs were neon pink.
      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

    7. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by Pan View Post
      Find me anywhere it talks about being able to determine an animal's color.
      In the title.

      And yes, I read the article. But, like the writer, I thought 'color' would be more dramatic.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Oneironaut View Post
      In the title.

      And yes, I read the article. But, like the writer, I thought 'color' would be more dramatic.
      I wasn't referring to you, my dear, only those commenting on the color of dinos. It's still an extremely cool discovery though.

      Q: Where can this discovery take you and other scientists in the future? Will you be able to recreate the palettes of numerous extinct animal species?

      A: The synchrotron at SSRL has been used for many years to probe the innermost workings of molecules to an almost impossibly small scale. Here the team from the University of Manchester and SSRL have shown it is possible to retain the sensitivity and probing ability of the synchrotron whilst working at a much larger scale (these fossils are giants in terms of synchrotron samples). The information gleaned from the current study is way beyond anything we could have dreamed of a few years ago. The potential for this technique to gently un-pick the chemistry of long extinct species is quite breathtaking. The possibility of mapping biosynthetic pathways, enzymatic reactions and mass-transfer of elements between organic and inorganic systems through deep time offers many areas of science, not just paleontology, a cracking insight to the past. More importantly, the hindsight that the fossil record provides will undoubtedly have benefits for understanding processes on earth both today and in the future. Advances in one field are often a function of a curve ball from another.

    9. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by Pan View Post
      Did anyone even read the article? Based on the comments, methinks not.
      Yes.

      Quote Originally Posted by Pan View Post
      Find me anywhere it talks about being able to determine an animal's color.


      Prior studies have relied upon the pigment “containers” called melanosomes (biological “paint pots”) to diagnose color. Our new results go beyond this and show that chemical remnants of pigments may survive even after the melanosome containing them has been destroyed, such as with Gansus yumenensis. The Gansus samples clearly preserve a chemical fossil, where almost all structure has been lost. More importantly the new technique allows scientists to rapidly map and quantify the chemistry of whole fossils, without having to remove samples from their precious new finds.


      and

      We were very pleased that the chemistry has remained relatively unaltered in some cases. Eumelanin has a copper atom at its structural heart, allowing us to map its presence, via its distinctive signal. Eumelanin is possibly the most important pigment in living species, and our study clearly identified this pigment’s presence and distribution in several extinct species. We can now use this copper-coordinated molecule to help unlock the pigment palette of many other extinct species.

      So basically, they should be able to determine species' colour using this method. Probably combining it with other factors. Obviously they haven't yet, otherwise they would have told us some of them in the article.
      Last edited by tommo; 07-06-2011 at 05:30 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by tommo View Post
      [/I]So basically, they should be able to determine species' colour using this method. Probably combining it with other factors. Obviously they haven't yet, otherwise they would have told us some of them in the article.
      Again...

      The presence of pigment must not be confused with color, as even with a specific pigment being recognized, there are/were many factors that contribute to an organism’s entire color palette.
      They might be able to. I guess a lot of it depends on what these other factors are. They have been cautious not to claim they can determine an animal's overall color...and notice how the question "Q: Where can this discovery take you and other scientists in the future? Will you be able to recreate the palettes of numerous extinct animal species?" ...only the first part of the question was answered, and the second part was ignored entirely.

      G. yumenensis, however, only preserved the distinctive copper “biomarker” indicating the presence of eumelanin pigment, given the structural (melanosome) data was long lost in the sands of time. So with G. yumenensis, without the SRS-XRF results, it would not have been possible to map the presence of the pigment.
      Clearly, it's going to be difficult to find good fossil specimens with both melanosomes and pigments intact, to be able to map those pigments. This is the reason I get the feeling they are trying to redirect the discovery away from color and more towards biomedical/biochemical uses, whereas the media and public, are more interested in the color.

      The discovery will be featured in “Jurassic C.S.I.: In Living Color,” premiering Thursday, July 7, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic Channel (full series to air this August).
      I shall be watching this.

    11. #11
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      Yeah I admit I misunderstood it the first time and was desperately trying to cover my dumbassness. In my defense, I didn't really read it that closely, coz I was doing something else.

      But still, they might be able to figure it out soon using something like this copper thing.

      "G. yumenensis, however, only preserved the distinctive copper “biomarker” indicating the presence of eumelanin pigment, given the structural (melanosome) data was long lost in the sands of time. So with G. yumenensis, without the SRS-XRF results, it would not have been possible to map the presence of the pigment."

      Clearly, it's going to be difficult to find good fossil specimens with both melanosomes and pigments intact, to be able to map those pigments.
      I thought that bit meant that the copper biomarker is preserved really well, so they don't really need the eumelanin to be preserved?

      You're right though, it depends on what the other factors are which contribute to colour.
      Especially since some animals like some lizards and octopuses can change their colour!
      Although they could possibly have different markers altogether.

    12. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by tommo View Post
      I thought that bit meant that the copper biomarker is preserved really well, so they don't really need the eumelanin to be preserved?
      I think you may be right...

      We were able to map elevated levels of eumelanin pigment in the neck, body and distal tail feathers of C. sanctus, but also resolve the subtle variations in tone and pigment concentrations within its wings. C. sanctus preserved both evidence of pigment chemistry but also the microscopic biological paint-pot (melanosome) that once held the pigment, so that the two were correlated for the first time.
      For some reason I thought this meant that it was necessary to have both the pigment as well as the melanosome in order to determine the subtle variations in tone/pigment concentrations. (since they didn't do this, or talk about it with the second one)

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