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RE: Microraptor Had Iridescent Plumage

Short video about this: http://youtu.be/XJGiPzcalwU

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216                        
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
Fax: 301-314-9661               

Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
Fax: 301-314-9843

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] 
> On Behalf Of Ben Creisler
> Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2012 2:10 PM
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Microraptor Had Iridescent Plumage
> From: Ben Creisler
> bcreisler@gmail.com
> In the new March 9 issue of Science:
> Quanguo Li, Ke-Qin Gao, Qingjin Meng, Julia A. Clarke, Matthew D.
> Shawkey, Liliana D'Alba, Rui Pei, Mick Ellison, Mark A. 
> Norell, and Jakob Vinther (2012) Reconstruction of 
> Microraptor and the Evolution of Iridescent Plumage.
> Science 335(6073): 1215-1219
> DOI: 10.1126/science.1213780
> http://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6073/1215.abstract
> NOTE: The pdf for the data supplement is free.
> Abstract
> Iridescent feather colors involved in displays of many extant 
> birds are produced by nanoscale arrays of melanin-containing 
> organelles (melanosomes). Data relevant to the evolution of 
> these colors and the properties of melanosomes involved in 
> their generation have been limited. A data set sampling 
> variables of extant avian melanosomes reveals that those 
> forming most iridescent arrays are distinctly narrow. 
> Quantitative comparison of these data with melanosome 
> imprints densely sampled from a previously unknown specimen 
> of the Early Cretaceous feathered Microraptor predicts that 
> its plumage was predominantly iridescent. The capacity for 
> simple iridescent arrays is thus minimally inferred in 
> paravian dinosaurs. This finding and estimation of 
> Microraptor feathering consistent with an ornamental function 
> for the tail suggest a centrality for signaling in early 
> evolution of plumage and feather color.