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Contact: Johan Lindgren
Lund University

Leatherback Turtle, Mosasaur and Ichthyosaur

Caption: Preserved pigment in fossilized skin from a leatherback turtle, a mosasaur and an ichthyosaur suggests that these animals were, at least partially, dark-colored in life -- an example of convergent evolution. Note that the leatherback turtle and mosasaur have a dark back and light belly (a color scheme also known as countershading), whereas the ichthyosaur, similar to the modern deep-diving sperm whale, is uniformly dark-colored.

Credit: Illustration by Stefan Sølberg

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