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In Disguise

No-one knows what color dinosaurs were. Only a few
fragments of fossilized dinosaur skin exist and the
color in these disappeared millions of years ago.
Dinosaurs probably spent more time hiding from one
another than fighting. They needed to blend in with
their surroundings, to avoid a predator, or to sneak
up on unsuspecting prey. Dinosaurs may have been
patterned to fir their habitat. So hadrosaurus could
have been dappled like deer today to reflect the spots
of sunlight among the plants in which they fed. Or
perhaps some were spotted like leopards or striped
like tigers. Young animals today often have different
markings from their parents because they are nearer to
the ground. Wild boar piglets have stripy coats to
conceal them in the broken light of the woodlands.
Like chameleons today, some dinosaurs may have been
able to change color. If they fed in marshy, green
lowland, but also spent time in dry, sandy upland they
may have changed color to suit each of these places.
Small herbivores such as Hypsilophodon could probably
change color and blend with their surroundings. Other
dinosaurs may have had dark backs and pale bellies,
like many antelopes today. This countershading helps
to break up the animal's body shape when it is seen
from a distance.

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