Scientists mapped the color shading of a particularly well-preserved Chinese fossil – a Psittacosaurus [sit uh kuh SAWR us] – onto several three-dimensional, lifelike models of the dinosaur. They discovered that the extent of lighter areas on its belly matched that of today’s animals that live in shaded areas, like beneath trees, as opposed to open plains. In the process, the researchers confirmed pigment and protein remnants in the fossil skin that should have decayed long ago if they were really millions of years old.
This pristine, small dinosaur fossil came from China’s Jehol Biota, fossil beds to which secular geologists attach an age of over 120 million years based on when they believe some of its now-fossilized creatures were alive and evolving. But if that many years actually elapsed since sediments suddenly buried this entire animal, then how could it still contain the short-lived biochemicals that made its skin color darker on its back? How could it still have what appear to be remnants of the proteins that make its reptilian scales still bumpy?