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ARCHAEOPTERYX COLOUR PATTERNS
Francoise Forel wrote:
> 1) I heard of a remain of colour pattern found in an Archaeopteryx
> specimen, and in a pterosaur specimen showing stripes. Can someone provide
> me refs and/or more info?
I'm aware of articles published in the 1970s where it was stated that
brownish stains on some of the _Archaeopteryx_ feathers were actual
preserved pigment. This conclusion, not accepted by anyone today
AFAIK, was probably inspired by discoveries early this century of
brown pigment cells in ichthyosaur skin. Preservation of colour
patterns or of colours themselves almost entirely occur in
places of exceptional preservations, e.g. Messel (where there are
fossil birds with banded primaries and jewel beetles that still
sparkle in iridescent blue). Fossil bivalves from New
Zealand also preserve true pigments, as do, I'm sure, plenty of other
invert fossils I'm not fully aware of.
Your mention of 'pterosaur stripes' may be a misinterpretation
resulting from Pennycuick's article called 'Stripes on a pterosaur
wing'. Pennycuick argues that the roughly parallel lines observed in
pterosaur patagia are folds resulting from a crinkling up of the
patagia on drying. This is not correct and the lines are true
structures (aktinofibrils) embedded within the wing structure. I
don't think it has yet been determined what these structures are
truly made of.
> 2) What is the current conception of the "unicorn" crest of Tsintaosaurus?
> Depends on who you talk to. Philippe Taquet says no "unicorn" crest,
> and I agree with him. I think it's just the nasal pushed upward
> during fossilization. Eric Buffetaut says yes, "unicorn" crest.
Glut's recent dinosaur encyclopedia mentions recently discovered
_Tsintaosaurus_ skulls that, like the type, also preserve the unicorn
crest. If it crops up more than once it's unlikely to be a quirk of
fossilisation limited to a single _Tanius_ individual.
"Before that time, I was a pet"