Saturday, February 6, 2010

Science Article Summary - 10

Science Article Summary - 10

Evidence Builds on Color of Dinosaurs

[1]C. Zimmer, “Evidence Builds on Color of Dinosaurs,” The New York Times, Feb. 2010. [Online]. Available: [Accessed Feb. 6, 2010].

After the thriller "Jurassic Park" most people would think that scientists had a fairly good idea of the color of dinosaurs, but the case is much the opposite.  Up until last week, many paleontologists had no overwhelming evidence for the colors of dinosaurs, but luckily, a group of researchers at Yale have finally been able to identify what dinosaurs actually looked like over 125 million years ago.  Since feathers have pigment-loaded sacs called melanosomes, the researchers were able to work in conjunction with biologist Matthew Shawkey to predict the color of feathers from the melanosomes only.  This discovery by the researchers not only uncovers our curiosities about the characteristics of the ancient creatures, but it also supports that birds are actually descendants from dinosaurs. 

One main find using this process has been the discovery of the Anchiornis's unique color pattern, which just happens to very close to the present day Silver Spangled Hamburgs chickens.  The researchers noted that the Anchiornis, just like the present day chicken breed, used their colors for some visual function.  These functions can range from attracting mates to using their black and white limbs to escape predators, which apparently confuses predators and is more popularly seen in Zebras.

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