Thursday, January 28, 2010
Dinosaurs, which used to be depicted in a monochromatic hue one paleontologist called "dinosaur s-- green," apparently were more colorful than that. The idea of colorful dinos has gained currency for some years - after all, their living relatives, the birds, are hardly a dull-colored lot - but now there's hard evidence. Some exceptional fossils have preserved structures called melanosomes, present in the protofeathers called "dino fuzz," whose shape in birds is indicative of the type of pigments they hold. Not all paleontologists are convinced, but but claims such as alternating rings of white and orange-brown filaments on the tail of a species called Sinosauropteryx present an interesting new picture of the Mesozoic Era.