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Re: fossil fish colouration

Mary Nalasco wrote:
> A little while back wasn't there also something about being able to tell an
> organism's color through some test or another (doggonit- don't remember the
> details.) Anyway, I thought they claimed to have deduced the color of a
> fossil fish with this procedure. Does anyone remember what that was all
> about?

This only applies to creatures that exhibit metallic colouration (fish scales,
peacock feathers, etc). In the case of the fossil fish, the scales had been
preserved in sediment so fine grained that electron microscope images revealed
the original minute striations on the scale surfaces. The colour of light
reflected by these tiny ridges repends on their distance appart (there is a
direct correlation between distance between ridges and the wavelength of the
light reflected). Hence by measuring the distance between the minute striations
it was possible to determine what colour light they would have reflected.

Holograms use essentially the same process. It is possible to print holographs
directly onto smooth chocolate by imprinting the surface with tiny lines that
reflect (or is that refract?) light.

        Dann Pigdon
        GIS Archaeologist
        Melbourne, Australia

        Australian Dinosaurs: