Feathers are Not Just for Flying

i-c9ca2a9553b6fa6bc6d67ec4650c6bad-Screen shot 2010-09-09 at 5.48.31 PM.pngIn a recent issue of Science magazine, researchers Li et al., were able to determine the plumage color of an extinct non-avian theropod dinosaur. This was possible due to the presence of melanin-containing melanosomes, which were preserved in the fossilized feathers. The fossilized remains were from a Jurassic troodontid, Anchiornis huxleyi, an ancestor of Archaeopteryx and modern birds. The presence of colored feather patterns in a bird prior to the evolution of true flight, suggests that feather coloration may have evolved for reproductive or communication purposes.

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