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Archaeopteryx had black feathers

By T.K. Randall
January 25, 2012 · Comment icon 19 comments

Image Credit: Joseph Smit
Scientists have been able to determine that the feathered dinosaur archaeopteryx had black feathers.
The discovery of archaeopteryx was one of the most important finds in palaeontology and has long been considered a 'missing-link' between dinosaurs and modern birds. Up until now it wasn't clear what colour feathers these creatures would have had, but new research involving the use of a powerful microscope has revealed that they were likely to have been black like today's ravens and crows.
The Archaeopteryx feather was discovered in a limestone deposit in Germany in 1861, a few years after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species - and paleontologists have debated about it ever since.

Source: Daily Mail | Comments (19)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 13 years ago
i want a chocobo I want a black Chocobo so I can fly around on it.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Junior Chubb 13 years ago
Interesting story, nice this bird has an 'official' colour now. When I was a lad I had a book about dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx appeared on the last page sporting blue feathers with white tips. The article mentions examining 'a' feather (a single feather?), if this is the case could we have seen different coloured plumage elsewhere on the body? I wonder this of dinosaurs, how accurate are the CGI dinosaurs skin colours in movies and documentaries? As a lad this was up for argument (so David Bellamy told me), have some dinosaur colours been resolved to or are we still just guessing? They really... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Junior Chubb 13 years ago
I'm sure that the Archaeopteryx chose black because it's so slimming. BTW purple is this years black
Comment icon #13 Posted by Xanthurion2 13 years ago
i think they should scan feathers of other specimens too. i didn't even think it would be possible to determine color from fossils
Comment icon #14 Posted by Junior Chubb 13 years ago
For those of you that are interested... http://news.national...-science-wings/ Quote from above link "One of the first dinosaurs to take to the air had wings with at least one black feather, according to a new study." Full render of Archaeopteryx - Pigments have been found in fossil dinosaurs for the first time, a new study says - http://news.national...-colors-nature/
Comment icon #15 Posted by Device 13 years ago
So after all the years of speculation, we now know it's wings were black. Very good.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Kataliac 13 years ago
Looks similar to a vulture.
Comment icon #17 Posted by spud the mackem 13 years ago
Archaeopteryx is believed to be world's first bird. a href=""VPN/a Hi,I guess we have to go along with the scientists on this one,but no doubt some one will try to disapprove the theory that its the worlds 1st,but I still reckon it looks like a vulture,and its certainly not a hen.cheers
Comment icon #18 Posted by Cherry- 13 years ago
in Germany ...
Comment icon #19 Posted by BaneSilvermoon 13 years ago
I didn't even think it would be possible to determine color from fossils I was under the impression that at this time it's not, despite the melanin argument here. The last article that was posted on UM about fossil feather color was very specific that the methods used would only give us enough information to determine if it was a light or dark shade. Not enough to determine actual color.

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