Coloration suggests some Cretaceous predators relied more on sight than smell to hunt
Courtesy of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Canada
Sometimes body armor just isn’t enough. A car-sized dinosaur covered in bony plates may have sported camo, too, researchers report online August 3 in Current Biology. That could mean the Cretaceous-period herbivore was a target for predators that relied on sight more than smell to find prey.
The dinosaur, dubbed Borealopelta markmitchelli, has already made headlines for being one of the best preserved armored dinosaurs ever unearthed. It was entombed on its back some 110 million years ago under layers of fine marine sediments that buried the animal very quickly — ideal preservation conditions, says study coauthor Caleb Brown, a paleontologist at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Canada. The fossil, found in Alberta in 2011, captured not only large amounts of skin and soft tissue but also the animal’s three-dimensional shape.