Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dinosaur feather colours may not be as easy to determine

(Thanks to Diagenesis for the heads up, also check out Ed Young's post on it here)

A new study by Maria McNamara of the University of Bristol calls into question some (emphasis some) of the recent claims about feather colour in fossil Dinosaurs.

By Emily Willoughby
Doing studies on the effects of heat and pressure on the molecular composition of pigments in modern bird feathers, Dr. McNamara found that these molecules changed even under just these limited conditions reproducible in the lab. Meaning that given millions of years with similar long term conditions pigments could radically change.

With that said the original author of the feather fossil study Dr. Jakob Vinther has come out with a rebuttal stating his team had noted such possible changes.

Only time and more studies into both feather pigments and the processes by which they fossilize will tell us if we have truly unlocked the colour scheme of some Dinosaurs.

So some flexibility (and less certainty) has crept back into feather reconstructions there artists.