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Re: Black Feather Colour in Archaeopteryx

On Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 6:43 PM, Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au> wrote:
> 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.
> http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21146-archaeopteryx-was-robed-in-black.html

Awe-inspiring work!

BUT ... since this specimen is an isolated feather, isn't it more
accurate to say that some Solnhofen aviremigian, *possibly
Archaeopteryx*, had at least some black feathers?

T. Michael Keesey