What Can Dino Dandruff Teach Us? | Community Idea Stations

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What Can Dino Dandruff Teach Us?

People still love dinosaurs! Dinosaurs still reign supreme in movies and video games. Scientists too are still all about these extinct beasts with new discoveries being made all of the time. The most recent dino-discovery has experts better understanding the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds. This was not your standard dino bone discovery, but it certainly was head and shoulders above the rest. Dino dandruff is now helping us see some pretty important similarities between these terrible lizards and birds. Listen to this Question Your World radio report produced by the Science Museum of Virginia to learn more.

Millions of Americans went to see “Jurassic Park Fallen Kingdom” on it’s opening weekend. In fact the box office numbers brought in over $700 million in ticket sales world- wide. So, clearly, despite the fact that they’re terrible lizards, people sure do seem to love them both on the silver screen and out in the field where new discoveries from the real Jurassic world are still being made.

Recently a team of researchers made a big find that further strengthens the dinosaurs to birds evolutionary connection. Was it eggs? No. Was it feathers? No. Was it an epic beak like shnoz? No! It was dandruff.

There’s a real head scratcher. Why does dandruff link dinosuars to birds? These little fossilized bits of dino-dandruff are made of tough cells called corneocytes and similar to birds, occasionally these skin cells get shed. Modern reptiles on the other hand shed in a single piece or several big pieces, like a snake for example.

As more research gets published the link between dinosaurs and our fine feathered friends continues to grow. Unlike the dinosaurs that Chris Pratt was dealing with, these real life mid-Jurassic period Dinos would be way more colorful and there would be feathers involved. This dandruff find also helps scientists better understand how skin features evolved as Dinos and birds began to bear feathers!

Some terrible lizards? They sure seem to have a lot in common with birds. This discovery is also making scientists wonder - were they really all that terrible? More research ahead to answer these important questions!