Scientists Decode Coloring of a Bird-like Dinosaur
Following last week's revelation that a certain dinosaur had a ginger-ringed tail, scientists have announced the first full-body rendering of another dinosaur:
"They report that a complicated pattern of reddish brown, black, gray, and white feathers covered the fossilized dinosaur, leading to speculation that perhaps this coloration was used for attracting mates or some form of visual communication, as is often the case in living birds. The new find's implications for the evolution of feathering and flight are 'striking,' said study co-author Julia Clarke, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Texas in Austin.
NYT: "Working with paleontologists at the Beijing Museum of Natural History and Peking University, the researchers began to study a 150-million-year-old species called Anchiornis huxleyi. The chicken-sized theropod was festooned with long feathers on its arms and legs. The researchers removed 29 chips, each the size of a poppy seed, from across the dinosaur’s body. Mr. Vinther put the chips under a microscope and discovered melanosomes. To figure out the colors of Anchiornis feathers, Mr. Vinther and his colleagues turned to Matthew Shawkey, a University of Akron biologist who has made detailed studies of melanosome patterns in living birds. Dr. Shawkey can accurately predict the color of feathers from melanosomes alone. The scientists used the same method to decipher Anchiornis’s color pattern."