Soft-tissue evidence for homeothermy and crypsis in a Jurassic ichthyosaur

Synchrotron-based X-ray tomographic microscopy of melanophores (skin pigment cells) of an amazingly well preserved 180 million years old ichtyosaur (extinct marine reptile similar to whales) contributed in a multidisciplinary investigation to the new findings published today in Nature. It has been demonstrated that ichthyosaurs evolved similar strategies as modern marine animals to adapt to pelagic life: they were warm-blooded reptiles and possessed a countershaded coloration useful for camouflage, protection against UV light and heat regulation. AUTHOR_WWW/LSB/Tomography/HomeEN