Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Small Four-Winged Dinosaur Sported Shimmery Black Feathers

Four-Winged Dinosaur
A new fossil of a four-winged dinosaur concerning the dimensions of a pigeon shows he apparently sported quite the costume, complete with shiny black feathers and a tail tipped with a combine of ornamental streamer feathers.

The newly exposed fossil of Microraptor lived about 130 million years ago, through the early Cretaceous period, in what is nowadays northeastern China.

The researchers compared the agreement of these melanosomes with those of modern birds. When melanosomes are stacked tidily, the feather looks darker; when they are further muddled, the feather appears lighter.

From their analysis of modern birds, the researchers figured that this Microraptor fossil had black feathers. In addition, the narrow stacking of the melanosomes would have known the feathers iridescence.

The researchers couldn't be sure of the dye of the sheen, or the result of the iridescence on the quill color, because those factors depend on the width of the feather's keratin coat.

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