How do scientists know what the dinosaurs looked like? No-one can say for sure, but there are some lines of evidence in the fossil record, and from studies of modern animals. Putting it all together is like the detective work in solving a difficult murder case.

When you see a colour painting, or an animation, of a dinosaur as a living animal, this has been based on a series of steps in reconstruction:

  • The skeleton is rebuilt from the bones that are extracted from the rock.
  • The muscles can be laid on with some confidence, since each end of the muscle is fixed into the bone, and marks may be seen on the fossil bones.
  • Other soft parts, like the guts, eyeballs, tongue, and so on can be added partly by guesswork, and comparison with living animals.
  • The skin texture may be reconstructed precisely, since impressions of dinosaur skin have been fossilized. There are even a few rare cases of organic preservation of dinosaur skin.
  • The colour is entirely guesswork. Was Tyrannosaurus blue with yellow spots, or maybe you like red stripes? Colours are based on modern animals, and a bit of inspired imagination by the scientists and artists.
To learn more about Dinosaur reconstructions follow this link:-

To Megan Harrison's Home Page


Byron's Dinosaurs Home Page