Do you how dinosaurs looked like in the ancient times? Well, it was only a few millions years ago, and most of us should remember, right? Unfortunately, new discoveries provide us the information that we were wrong mostly about dinosaurs. Recently forty researches from various institutes of the world were amazed at new dinosaurs. These forty men with doctorate degrees were staring at the new version like children in a candy shop. Paleontologists and paparazzi couldn`t miss a chance of gathering and snapping a new creature standing in front of them. They couldn`t hide excitement with all their approving nodes and discussing the matter.
From the first glance to the dinosaur, it looked like a Frankenstein monster. Only the fiction monster was created out from the bodies of the humans, this on represents a synthesis of reptile and birds. Some people may find the resemblance of the monster with a turkey or parrot. Especially, the parrot-like face. Nevertheless, this parrot was certainly dangerous as it could harm you not only with words. Scientists gathered to look at this miracle of nature to understand the nature of evolution process. Nevertheless, some research couldn`t hide their curiosity by touching bristles erupted from the tail of the creature.
Paleoartist Bob Nicholls presented this new creature. His genius mind could construct the new type of reconstruction of Psittacosaurus. Scientist and regular people saw dinosaurs before, so what is the new with this version of died ancient creature? Nevertheless, the reconstruction of Psittacosaurus is claimed the most accurate for the whole history of paleontology. It connects almost all pointy features of the old creature. Bob Nicholls based his reconstruction on the studies of Dr. Jacob Vinther from the University of Bristol in the UK. The discoveries of this scientist in China helped the paleoartist create the most accurate version of the dinosaur.
If you did not know much about dinosaurs or you don`t have a whimsy child who helps you get some information about the ancient creatures, then you would need to be answered in some FAQ. Psittacosaurus fossil (the fossil which helped to reconstruct the Psittacosaurus) can be found in the most of Asia, particularly in China and Mongolia. One of the distinct features of Psittacosaurus is its large brain. The dinosaur lived around 100 million years ago, but the size of the brain can also suggest that it was one of the smartest dinosaurs.
This specimen was held and researched at the Senkenberg Museum in Frankfurt. The lead research group in the studying of the dinosaur was Vintner’s team. The complete skeleton of Psittacosaurus was delivered to the facility from China for complete studying of the matter. Now it`s stored in Frankfurt in one of the most secured fossil deposits in the whole world. This storage place is called Lagerstätte. This storage is famous for reasons of researches and containing large deposits of fur, stomach, skin, feathers and bodies of different ancient animals. Nevertheless, even among these fantastic creatures, the Psittacosaurus is a star, especially with preserved cloaca.
Vintner’s team are no strangers to the storage in Frankfurt. Vinther is a famous scientist – paleontologist, especially with its last discoveries of Sirius Passet in Greenland. In the paleontology science, his name becomes a synonymous of fossil pigments studying. He was the leader in studying of fossil remnants from various parts of the world, like Brazil, China, and Germany. He managed to travel in almost all parts of our small planet to make discoveries out of the little remnants, like ancient squid ink or avian dinosaurs feathers. This man can be named a rock-star of paleontology in some way.
It`s no secret that there were studies of the Psittacosaurus before. Nevertheless, the Vintner’s team was the first one who approached to the studying in a more quantitate way. They managed to reconstruct the accurate pigments of the skin. They approached the researching of the remnants with X-rays and highlight fluorescent materials to create an accurate version of the dinosaur’s skin. They used electron microscopes to find parts of melanosomes. This hardly to pronounce word`s meaning defines as the structure of pigments gathered in skin and skin cells. Therefore, from “Ashes,” they managed to create a 3-D version on the computer of Psittacosaurus. That was the time for Robert Nicholls to came in the game.
Robert Nicholls is based in Bristol, and he is famously known for his artworks with dinosaurs’ recreation. His vivid artworks in Paleontology are famous in the world of science. His portfolio works can be seen in various famous channels on TV, like National Geographic and BBC. Various museums have the honor to show his artworks. He breathes a new life into a prehistoric world with his art creations. Moreover, he does not lack a sense of humor; you may know his necks are acting like rods of lightning from a sauropod, and especially famous dinosaur suffering from dysentery. Robert Nicholls have his vivid vision the prehistory world.
In one of his interviews, where he tried to remember when he had started his work with dinosaurs, he pointed at the childhood. We all liked drawing dinosaurs in childhood, but rarely one of us could imagine this kind of hobby like a profession. Nevertheless, Robert Nicholls was one of the guys who decided to continue drawing dinosaurs as a full grown man. In the question about Psittacosaurus, he managed to get some information about this kind of creature from Jakob. One phone call was enough to get the interest of the artist in work with Psittacosaurus. Therefore, now we have the most accurate model of this dinosaur.
The reconstruction process took around three months of work, but it was the very culmination of the process of recreating as there was no turn back. In the very basis, it was needed to create a fiberglass model. Nicholls firstly created a frame made of steel and with using of polystyrene and wire mesh bulked the whole construction. It was a necessary process, before sculpting the model in clay. That was the exact point when the figure comes to life with adding skin features, wrinkles, horns, and beaks. The master mold was created out of this sculpture. Therefore, it allowed Nicholls to paint the fiberglass model.
What is so special for Nicholls in creating this sculpture? For him, it`s an unusually large head with pigment clusters, robust limbs, skin flaps, and highly pigmented cloaca. Nevertheless, this features supported the idea of the most accurate feature of the dinosaur in the whole world. For Nicholls, the whole surprise was the anatomy of the creature, especially with cloaca. Still, these features can be complete evidence of the most exclusive dinosaur pattern in the world. Therefore, it was needed to be created and showed to the public. Nicholls was the only master who could create such a creature in a three-month period.
The Psittacosaurus recent researches showed more than mere deep skin pigments. The dinosaur takes its name from the Psittacines, in other words – parrots. This ancient creator was an ancestor of these smart little birds. Nevertheless, it`s still questionable. In 2010 a paleontologist Paul Sereno argued the parrot-like patterns of the Psittacosaurus, he stated that this dinosaur is an ancestor not only to parrots but the whole group of birds. Nevertheless, his statements were discussed once later with the new discovery of muscle types of parrots and the Psittacosaurus which are not seen in every other bird or reptile.
Still, more scientist can argue the family connection between Psittacosaurus and parrots. Adam Taylor from the University of Bristol argued the statement of the similarity of muscle types of these family members. Moreover, he seems to argue The Anatomical Record of the creature. Adam Taylor states that the too soft facial features of the dinosaur are taken so far. His team modeled a different type of the dinosaur. With using a new method of engineering which is called finite element analysis FEA, they managed to test the skull of the bird-like dinosaur during the feeding. Therefore, they could see that the muscles during feeding process act not similar to parrots.
Nevertheless, the Psittacosaurus may not be a creature which has a resemblance with a dazzling parrot of the Mesozoic era, but Vintner’s team still made a discovery by revealing so many features of the prehistoric creature. These detailed studies of the Psittacosaurus showed us how these creatures lived, who were their natural enemies and the food they ate. Moreover, scientists can analyze the lifestyle of that animals with modern animals to see some resemblance of the ancestors and their modern offsprings. The complete study of the Psittacosaurus can show some distinct patterns of lifestyle in the whole family group of gazelles in African’s Savanah.
According to recent studies, the Psittacosaurus lifestyle was more like gazelles in African’s Savanah. They could dwell in open space, moreover, like gazelles, the Psittacosaurus had darker backs and lighter bellies. This ancient dinosaur had something called countershading, the ability to blend in the environment. It means that they were perfect masters of leaving the danger when it was needed and blend with the environment. People also have the same patterns in modern military and hunting equipment. Of course, they were made by hands of people, not by design of Nature, but people can learn from Nature and continue learning.
According to Vinther, the coloration can show the scientist a dynamic between prey and predators. It`s an important strategy regarding victims and hunters in the modern world. How it was possible that they distinguished so differently is still a secret for lots of scientists. It`s still unclear why they managed to develop in some or another way. Nevertheless, the remnants of the Psittacosaurus and other creatures of that period can give the answer to the scientists. Why preys got his pigmentations with more like terrain scale, while predators have a completely other pigmentation. What was the whim of nature to act like this in some manner?
The Psittacosaurus skin was examined several times during researches. The scientist tried to play with a different pattern of possible skin color and shapes for this creature. Nevertheless, this kind creature had not only a specific skin color but also shades of this color, which helped him blink on the sun in some manner. Therefore, the predators could notice it from the distance or be blinded by the sun from the skin of Psittacosaurus. Vinther tried to examine this kind of patterns of the animal by laying the gray model without patterns, to understand how shadows fall on the body of the dinosaur.
This photographed light diffusion provided by the paleontologist helped to reconstruct the exact model of the Psittacosaurus and also provide a skin model for the exact dinosaur. This fossil can provide some images and patterns of life of this magnificent creature. Nevertheless, even with a whole model of the dinosaur created by a paleontologist artist, the humanity still has a little understanding of life not only this specific creature but the whole Era where it lived. Therefore, you can expect a lot of studying in the further years.
There are still interesting facts about this Psittacosaurus. It had feathers and supposedly could dwell not only on the ground but also on the trees, like birds. It couldn`t fly obviously but still desired to create some manner of flying in other modern birds. The camouflage pigmentation on the body could provide some manners for protection, but not for the whole. There was still opened mouth features for this type of animals, which might have been the main spot for predators. Nevertheless, it helped the Psittacosaurus to chew food they needed.
The scientists like Vinther and his team does not desire to stay on this level of studying of the Psittacosaurus. It seems that the dinosaur has some connection with modern parrots and gazelles, but there is a still clear not understanding of how it should work. There are a lot of evidence that there may be similarities to both of these creatures. Nevertheless, there is still some doubts about the Psittacosaurus being one of those creatures’ ancestors. The main problem, for now, is the type of their jaw muscles. They might be similar to a parrot, but still, it`s not enough to prove their relatives’ connection.
Vinther and his team are no strangers to scavenging discoveries out of the fossil. The research work made by the team of scientists and especially the work of the most accurate version of the Psittacosaurus may show people the real understanding of dinosaurs. Moreover, the discovery of Nicholls shows that now that day when every paleontologist could create some colors for the dinosaurs is gone. There are many pieces of evidence of colors of dinosaurs. The new age of technology showed the importance of colors for everyone in this matter. Therefore, Nicholls can clearly look to the bright future side of the question.
So, what is for Vinther? After his travels and his work with the Psittacosaurus, what should we expect next? According to his words, he would still continue working with ancient creatures. His next target is mammals from Messel period of our history. Nevertheless, it does not mean that he would live his work with dinosaurs. There are a lot to do with these majestic creatures.
So, when your child asks you about the most accurate dinosaur model, you can show them the picture of the Psittacosaurus, which is the most actual model for dinosaurs.