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Re: Microraptor Had Iridescent Plumage

Good stuff; pretty decent press release and lovely art.  Too bad the sprawled 
the hindlimbs in the illustration... (though not all that much; I give them 
credit for that).  Beautiful rendering, regardless.  Reminds me of classic 
field guide style bird images.

--Mike Habib

Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 8, 2012, at 8:21 PM, "Ben Creisler" <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:

> From: Ben Creisler
> bcreisler@gmail.com
> Press release for the National Science Foundation with nice
> high-resolution downloadable artwork:
> http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=123392&org=NSF&from=news
> A press release from the AMNH with links to media and link to chat tomorrow:
> http://www.amnh.org/science/papers/microraptor_2012.php
> http://www.amnh.org/news/2012/03/new-finding-dinosaurs-feathers-were-black-with-iridescent-sheen/
>> 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.