Ichthyosaurs are a different story. Some ichthyosaur fossils consist of skeletons surrounded completely by an "envelope" of dark material. If these envelopes prove to be entirely skin remains, Lindgren said, they would suggest that ichthyosaurs were completely black. That coloration would make them like modern sperm whales, which dive deep into murky waters - as ancient ichthyosaurs also may have done.
"Of course, that may be a coincidence, but it's an interesting similarity that they share," Lindgren said.
The techniques used in the study may also be able to resolve debate over the coloration of land animals, he said, differentiating whether suspected melanosomes come from the fossil or from microbes.
Original article on LiveScience.
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