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Black Feather Colour in Archaeopteryx

As reported in New Scientist:

[Ryan] Carney and colleagues used scanning electron microscopy and 
energy-dispersive X-ray 
analyses to detect the melanosomes [of an Archaeopteryx feather], then compared 
this data to 
similar feathers in a database of 87 modern bird species. The feather, he says, 
was most probably 
black. While the full colour pattern of Archaeopteryx has yet to be uncovered, 
Carney noted that 
melanosomes on the black feather have structural properties which may have 
strengthened the 
feathers for the demands of flight. The miniscule structures which hide the 
secrets of prehistoric 
colour were not just for show.



R. Carney, et al. 2011. Black Feather Colour in Archaeopteryx. 2011 Society of 
Paleontology Annual Meeting Abstracts, p 84


Dann Pigdon
Spatial Data Analyst               Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj