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Re: black and white Archaeopteryx

Melanin pigment may have a structural role rather than one relating to colour 
pattern.  It has been suggested that the dark tips on the wings of many 
otherwise white birds (e.g. many gulls) serve to strengthen the feather tips 
and resist wear.  Even if Archaeopteryx was not an active flyer a similar 
explanation might have been involved (e.g. protecting feather tips against 
abrasion through contact with vegetation, etc.). 

Ronald Orenstein
1825 Shady Creek Court
Mississauga, ON L5L 3W2

From: Richard W. Travsky <rtravsky@uwyo.edu>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu 
Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 12:35:03 PM
Subject: Re: black and white Archaeopteryx

On Tue, 11 Jun 2013, Ben Creisler wrote:
> Here's the citation for the paper:
> Phillip. L. Manning,   Nicholas P. Edwards, Roy A. Wogelius,  Uwe
> Bergmann,  Holly E. Barden,  Peter L. Larson,  Daniela Schwarz-Wings,
> Victoria M. Egerton, Dimosthenis Sokaras,  Roberto A. Mori and
> William I. Sellers (2013)
> Synchrotron-based chemical imaging reveals plumage patterns in a 150
> million year old early bird.
> Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry (advance online article)
> DOI: 10.1039/C3JA50077B
> http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2013/ja/c3ja50077b

Darn, paywall.

But the artist's illustration raises a question, what sort of
environment would this patterning be best suited for, assuming
it wasn't for display purposes? I'm thinking, lots of shifting
patterns as leafy branches sway in winds...