Paleoreptiles Were Black

13.01.2014

Dark hue prevaled in the coloring of ancient underwater dinosaurs, experts of the University of Lund, Sweden, assume. These conclusions were drawn after they examined the remains of skeletons and small pieces of skin of mosasaurs, ichtyosaurs and ancient leatherback turtles. The latter ones were studied along with contemporary leatherback turtles. What was once considered the remains of fossilized bacteria in the skin flap appeared to be melanosomes, cell organelles responsible for the dark color of the skin. Leatherbacks are the only black aquatic reptiles.

Leatherback turtles are the only black reptiles on Earth

Most likely, dark skin of underwater lizards combined the two functions, scientists say: UV protection and thermoregulation. At least it works this way for Dermochelys, the contemporary leatherback turtle. This is the only turtle in the world inhabiting cold seas. They spend hours basking in the sun near the water surface, and the dark color is not allowing them to get sunburned and accumulates heat . These turtles are one of the oldest species of aquatic reptiles that have survived to the present day.