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Ask a Paleontologist: What Was Dinosaur Skin Like?

On Exhibit posts

video series on amnh.tv delves into the topic of dinosaurs, which arose some 230 million years ago and thrived until large dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago. 

Most dinosaur fossils found are bones, like those of the Apatosaurus below.

Apatosaurus

But, on occasion, researchers unearth skin impressions as well. In a video, Research Associate Lowell Dingus and Mark A. Norell, chair of the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, explain what we know about what the skin of extinct dinosaurs might have looked like. Perhaps, says Norell, it resembled the skin of chickens (pictured below) and other birds, which are all living dinosaurs.

White leghorn chicken feet close-up

Did dinosaur skin look like this? 

Stephen Ausmus/Courtesy USDA ARS


Learn more in the video.


Learn more about the skin of sauropods, a group of Saurischian dinosaurs that includes Apatosaurushere.

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