The Texture of Dinosaur Skin
Although we may never know the color of dinosaurs, the texture of dinosaur
skin is another matter. Natural cast fossils of dinosaur skin have been
discovered that show clearly what the skin of various dinosaurs looked
and felt like.
Diplodocus skin casts show a pattern of tiny, pinhead-sized bumps; Hadrosaurus
and Edmontosaurus skin had a leathery, pebbled appearance somewhat like
that of a football. Other ornithopods display a skin texture similar to
that of the modern Gila monster.
The first Archaeopteryx fossil found was a sensation because the rock in
which it was found was fine-grained enough to show the impressions of feathers.
If it had not been for this evidence of “skin texture,” Archaeopteryx could
have been mistaken for a coelurosaur, and its significance as the first
bird would have been missed.