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Preservation of color patterns



On Mon, 28 Mar 2005 11:42:14 -0700 Nick Longrich <longrich@ucalgary.ca>
writes:
[from vrtpaleo mailing list]

>       It's surprising what preserves. Many of the little fish from 
> the Jehol 
> (_Lycoptera_) show countershading camouflage: they are darker on the 
> 
> back than on the belly, and this kind of preservation is fairly 
> widespread. Color patterns (probably melanins) are clearly visible 
> in 
> insects from the Jehol, Las Hoyas, and Green River lagerstatten, 
> fish 
> from Solnhofen and Monte Bolca, _Gryphaea_ from Utah's Mancos Shale, 
> 
> some _Phacops_ trilobites... just to give a few examples. It's often 
> 
> overlooked in plain sight: Mick Ellison pointed out to me that 
> _Sinosauropteryx_ seems to have a striped tail- the pattern looks 
> too 
> regular to be a preservational artifact (so we actually do have some 
> 
> evidence about what color they were). In many other cases, melanin 
> is 
> probably there and either too faint to see with the naked eye, or 
> not 
> in any easily recognizable pattern.<snip>



Re: the _Sinosauropteryx_ with the purported striped tail.  Have any
paleoartists depicted this animal with such a pattern?

Re: empirical evidence.  Can melanin be confirmed with UV or IR
absorption spectroscopy?  If so, then this avenue of investigation should
be pursued.  A scan of both the "striped" portions of the slab and the
"un striped" portions of the slab may confirm the hypothesis.

<pb>
--