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Sinosauropteryx in the likely open habitat in which it lived 130 million years ago in the Early Cretaceous | Robert Nicholls
Animals

Bandit-Masked Dinosaur With Striped Tail Evolved to Escape Tyrannosaurs

The speedy dinosaur Sinosauropteryx used its color patterning, including a mask-like stripe across its eyes, to avoid detection by prey and predators.

The best-preserved fossil specimen of Sinosauropteryx from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota of China and an interpretive drawing of the bones, stomach contents, and darkly pigmented feathers. The scale bar represents 50 mm (about 2 inches). | Photo by Jakob Vinther, interpretive drawing by Fiann Smithwick
2010 digital reconstruction of Sinosauropteryx. New research has eliminated the black underside and legs and has changed the recreation in other respects. | Zhang et al., Nature, Wikimedia Commons
The reconstructed color patterns of Sinosauropteryx shows its counter-shaded pattern along with the striped tail and bandit mask. The scale bar represents 100 mm (about 4 inches). | Fiann Smithwick
University of Bristol