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Re: BBC Radio Show on Fossil Colour
There's some stuff from the Santana Formation (Aptian) that apparently
Martill, D.M., Frey, E., 1995. Colour patterning preserved in Lower
birds and insects: the Crato Formation of N.E. Brazil. Neues Jahrbuch
fuÂ r Geologie und PalaÂontologie, Monatschefte 1995, 118e128.
Heads, S.W., Martill, D.M., Loveridge, R.F., 2005. An exceptionally
antlion (Insecta, Neuroptera) with colour pattern preservation from the
Cretaceous of Brazil. Palaeontology 48, 1409e1417.
I have a vague recollection of a turtle from the Santana that preserved
colour as well, but I can't think of the reference (the paper may have
been by Ren Hirayama?)
Dann Pigdon wrote:
Skin colouration has been preserved in some fossil frogs (from Africa
I think), but they weren't nearly as old as Mesozoic.
Electronmicroscopy of fossil fish scales has also revealed the exact
spacing of their microstriations, which can be used to determine the
colours of light they would have reflected.
Other than those examples, I can't think of any reliable ways to
determine skin/scale *colour* in fossil species. I seem to recall one
of the recent hadrosaur mummies may have had stains that could have
been skin markings (stripes if I remember correctly), and I seem to
recall someone mentioning patterns preserved on some of the fossil
feather impressions coming out of China, but I doubt that such
markings are ever in their original colours.
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