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New research casts light onto what ancient sea creatures looked like

Published torsdag 9 januari 2014 kl 15.20
"It's a very exciting new field"
(4:30 min)
The dark-skinned ancient sea creatures. Illustration: Stefan Sølberg

Archeologists have found pigment in the remains of fossilised sea creatures, which may now help us understand what the sea monsters, which lived in the world's oceans tens of millions of years ago, actually looked like, rather than just guessing, which has been the case up until now. In a discovery that is reminiscent of Jurassic Park, the scientists have analysed fossilized skin, and found molecules of the pigment, which tells us what colour the animals were.

And, according to the scientists, the amount of pigment in the fossilized cells in the remains of a 86-million-year-old giant predator called a mosasaur, a 55-million-year-old leatherback turtle and a 190-million-year-old ichthyosaur, shows that they were very dark creatures, similar to some modern-day swimmers, like dolphins and some whales.

The team, led by Lund University's Johan Lindgren, has just had their work published in the scientific journal Nature, and he joined us on the line to talk about their findings.

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