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Sauropod dinosaurs get spiky new look.

New discoveries of dinosaur skin fossils are repainting the old picture of the largest beasts to ever walk the Earth. Researchers and artists alike have long envisioned sauropod dinosaurs with smooth skin that lacked any spiky protrusions. But dinosaur artist Stephen A. Czerkas reports finding evidence that at least one type of sauropod had scaly skin with formidable spines running along part of its body.

While collecting in a Wyoming quarry in 1990, Czerkas uncovered fossilized skin impressions belonging to a new species of dinosaur related to the well-known Diplodocus. The impressions clearly show that the skin was pebbled with large bumps about 3 centimeters in diameter. Czerkas also found impressions of many cone-shaped fossils, some of which were connected to the tail. The smallest "spines" appear at the end of the tail, whereas larger ones occur farther up the tail. The largest of the spines would have measured around 18 centimeters high, Czerkas reports in the December GEOLOGY.

The fossils indicate that this animal had spiny growths along its tail and possibly along its entire length, says Czerkas, who proposes that other types of sauropods may have sported similar spines.
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Title Annotation:fossilized skin impressions reveal spiny growths and scaly skin on dinosaur previously believed to have had smooth skin
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 20, 1993
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