Monday, February 8, 2010

The colour of Cretaceous dinosaurs and birds

In a recent paper in Nature Fucheng Zhang and co-workers report on their work on fossil melanosomes of Cretaceous dinosaurs and birds. The examination of fossil melanosomes gives important clues to the colour of feathers or skin of these creatures. The expressive colour patters of early feathers Cretaceous dinosaurs and birds adds to the discussion whether feathers evolved first for flying, or whether they served other purposes, i.e. signalling to potential mates or rivals.

Zhang, Fucheng, Stuart L. Kearns, et al. (2010), Fossilized melanosomes and the colour of Cretaceous dinosaurs and birds, Nature, online, doi:10.1038/nature08740.

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