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Re: BBC Radio Show on Fossil Colour
There are several specimens of Treptoceras sp. (a straight shelled
Ordovician cephalopod from the Richmondian) that I collected during my
masters thesis work that very clearly show longitudinal color banding
along their shell. They are sitting in repository along with the rest
of quite rare cephalopod fauna (one new still unnamed Genus according
to Russeau H. Flower who personally examined the material) found
during my thesis work at Miami of Ohio (Oxford Ohio) Geology
Department. These are 400 million year old fossils and were
preserved in a very fine grained lagoonal micritic limestone deposited
under low energy/low oxygen environment. My point is: old doesn't
mean that color /color patterns isn't/aren't preserved. Whether or
not this brown/creme striping color on these particular fossils is the
original color is in doubt but the specimens clearly shows an easily
distinguishable pattern of color unrelated to the growth pattern which
is more structural in nature. This these work was biostratigraphical
correlation and sedimentalogical based more than it was
paleontologically descriptive. There is no reason if under the right
conditions, that dinosaur material won't have fossil color patterns
preserved but the accuracy of the color preserved (versus the
original) will always be in doubt.
The reference is:
Bliss, F. E. 1984. The "Concrete Layer", (A rock Unit Resembling The
Hitz Bed) of the Slauda Formation (Upper Ordovician), In Franklin
County, Indiana. Master Thesis, Miami University Oxford Ohio, 1884,
pp. 1-121 .
Frank (Rooster) Bliss
On Feb 7, 2008, at 10:25 PM, Dann Pigdon wrote:
Richard W. Travsky writes:
On Thu, 7 Feb 2008, Michael Barton wrote:
"Quentin will be exploring how fossil remains of the dinosaurs is
revealing information about their colouring and marking were they
striped or spotty purple or yellow?" Ok, how do fossils show that?
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.
GIS / Archaeologist http://geo_cities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia http://heretichides.soffiles.com