Can We Know What Color Dinosaurs Were?

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Have you ever wondered what dinosaurs looked like? Artists have imagined dinosaurs in all different colors and shades in books, movies, and museums because you just couldn’t tell what color a dinosaur was from the fossils. But this all might change. Scientists have now discovered a way of uncovering the original color of a fossilized creature from the fossil itself.


A pigment in skin called melanin is responsible for skin color and shade. This pigment is found in organelles called melanosomes inside cells. A Yale University team has found these melanosomes in a fossilized feather. Now, “because melanosomes differ by shape according to the type of melanin they produce—eumelanin, for example, can be black or brown depending on concentration, while pheomelanin is red—the researchers hypothesized that the appearance of a melanosome could be used to infer the color of the animal it belonged to.” Well, now another group of researchers “analyzed the chemical structure of melasonomes [sic] from several different fossilized species, confirming the correlation between shape and shade” to the point where they now believe that this method is an accurate way to determine the color of extinct creatures.

This research is a great example of observational science—and of course creationist scientists enjoy learning about such findings and that’s why we feature many dinosaur-related exhibits in our Creation Museum (including a world-class allosaur skeleton). The scientists are observing fossilized bones and melanosomes in the present to try to determine the color of these extinct creatures. This is really interesting research and will probably help us learn more about some of the creatures that God made that are no longer extant.

But the article then drifts into historical science. The study’s lead author said, “People had questioned whether you could use the shape of the melanosome to tell anything about the color, because it’s been through a lot. Millions of years in the ground is obviously going to take a toll.” The idea that these bones have been in the ground for millions of years is based on unverifiable assumptions about Earth’s history based on an evolutionary worldview.

Now, what would make more sense is if these melanosomes haven't been around for millions of years. In a creation worldview, these bones were likely buried in the global Flood of Noah’s day just a few thousand years ago. So these bones haven’t been in the ground as the supposed millions of years take their toll! They’ve just been in the ground for thousands of years! So it’s no surprise that the melanosomes can still reveal some secrets. Again, God’s Word is confirmed the more we learn about the world around us.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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