Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New X-Rays of Archaeopteryx Feathers

Science Daily is running a story on research done utilizing x-ray technology to gain more insight into the feather pattern and structure of Archaeopteryx.  They write:
The first complete chemical analysis of feathers from Archaeopteryx, a famous fossil linking dinosaurs and birds, reveals that the feathers of this early bird were patterned - light in colour, with a dark edge and tip to the feather ­­- rather than all black, as previously thought. The findings came from X-ray experiments undertaken by a team from the University of Manchester, working with colleagues at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The scientists were able to find chemical traces of the original 'dinobird' and dilute traces of plumage pigments in the 150 million-year-old fossil.
It is amazing that this is even possible, given the age of the specimens. Neat.

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