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."


  1. says

    i live in a dream world. i don’t have any realistic dreams for my life. i spend my life wondering what it would be like to soar through space and see galaxies and other solar systmes with my own eyes. i spend my life wanting to be able to go back in time and take photogaphs of what was probably a physically gorgeous Earth during the time of the dinosaurs, i want to experience the sights and smells and sounds of prehistoric time. i spend my life wondering what it would be like to live 5000 years from now. i have no realistic dreams. i dream of what i can never have or experience, and i wouldn’t have it any other way.

  2. Derek says

    Hurry, someone, and copyright this image.
    It would make a great team mascot.
    Now, someone come up with a clever appropriate name for the team based on the image. (for a gay sports league, of course)

  3. says

    No, birds are not dinosaurs, but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that birds certainly are about as closely related to them as any species that exists on earth.

    I heard rumors that a new Jurassic Park movie is going to be made. If the dinosaurs don’t have feathers (like we now know they probably should), I don’t think I’m going to go =p

  4. says

    They will design the dinosaurs with the dumb American movie-going public in mind, not the science. They may have feather-ish spines like the velociraptors in the third film, but not all out feathers, which would make them look less fierce.

Leave A Reply