Dinosaur had ginger feathers
By [UPDATE: NYT LINK ADDED] VICTORIA GILL - BBC
Added: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 00:00:00 UTC
Thanks to panex for the link.
Meet Sinosauropteryx, a very spiky little dinosaur.
A team of scientists from China and the UK has now revealed that the bristles of this 125 million-year-old dinosaur were in fact ginger-coloured feathers.
The researchers say that the diminutive carnivore had a "Mohican" of feathers running along its head and back. It also had a striped tail.
The team revealed details of the dinosaur's coloured feathers in an article published on Nature's website.
The team began by studying the fossilised remains of a bird, Confuciusornis, which also lived during the early cretaceous period.
Confuciusornis' featherswere preserved in extraordinarily complete fossils that were recently discovered in northern China.
Using a powerful electron microscope to look inside the feathers, researchers were able to see microscopic structures called melanosomes, which, in life, contain the pigment melanin.
[UPDATE 27-Jan: NYT link added]
Thanks to Catalin for the link.
Study Offers an Insight Into Dinosaur Colors
What color were dinosaurs? Well, at least one of them had a feathered mohawk tail in a subdued palette of chestnut and white stripes.
That is what a team of Chinese and British scientists reported on Wednesday in Nature, providing the first clear evidence of dinosaur colors from studies of 125-million-year-old fossils of a dinosaur called Sinosauropteryx.
âWe might be able to start painting a picture in color of what these things looked like,â said Lawrence M. Witmer, a paleontologist at Ohio University, who was not involved in the study.
Of course, such pictures have been painted many times, but the colors were products of a painterâs imagination, not a scientistâs laboratory.
Dinosaur fossils are mostly drab collections of mineralized bones. A few preserve traces of skin, and fewer still preserve structures that many scientists have argued are feathers.
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