Extinct ocean reptiles now appear in color

By Ashley Yeager, 12:17 PM January 8, 2014

When ichthyosaurs were alive, some of the dolphin-like sea creatures may have had dark-colored skin covering their entire bodies.

Many ocean-dwelling animals are darker on their upward-facing side and lighter on their underside. But chemical analyses of dark traces in fossilized tissue show that a 190-million- to 196-million-year-old ichthyosaur had skin pigments that made the animal uniformly dark, researchers suggest January 8 in Nature.

The team also found skin pigments, including melanin, i...

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