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February 6, 2010

UPDATE: Dinosaurs: Now in Color

Right on the tail of Sinosauropteryx, researchers have determined the colors of a second feathered dinosaur. A team from Yale took a fossil of Anchiornis huxleyi, a four-winged feathered dinosaur from China, and studied it in precise detail. Like the team studying Sinosauropteryx, the Yale team looked at the microscopic melanosomes in the fossil feathers. Unlike the Sinosauropteryx team, however, they looked at every single feather, to determine the full coloration of the dinosaur. They came up with this:

It's amazing. Between Sinosauropteryx and Anchiornis, we have a far more interesting view of dinosaurs than the drab greens and grays used only a decade back. It's also another piece of evidence tying birds back to their dinosaurian ancestors. It makes sense that many birds are brightly colored, if the dinosaurs were too. I expect we'll only see even more discoveries that solidify the colors of feathered dinosaur. I can't wait to see what we find.

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Source: Science Daily: Dinosaur had Vibrant Colors, Microscopic Fossil Clues Reveal