<div data-thumb = "https://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/csz/news/tmb/2019/bluecolorton.jpg" data-src = "https: //3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn .net / newman / gfx / news / 2019 / bluecolorton.jpg "data-sub-html =" Eocoracias brachyptera Fossil sample used for this study.The rich black texture on the surface is fossilized plumage of the bird's fossils Photo credits: Sven Traenkner, photographer at the Senckenberg Research Institute and Museum of Natural History in Frankfurt. ">
Researchers at the University of Bristol have gained new insights into blue shades in prehistoric birds when studying fossil pigments.
For some time paleontologists have known that melanin pigment can be conserved in fossils and is able to reconstruct fossil color patterns.
Melanin pigment gives birds black, reddish brown and gray colors and is involved in the production of brightly shimmering shimmer in bird feathers.
This can be seen by examining the melanin packets, called melanosomes, which are shaped like small cylindrical objects smaller than a thousandth of a millimeter in size, varying from sausage shapes to small meatballs.
In addition to iridescent, structural colors, birds do not make iridescent structural colors.
These are, for example, blue shades of parrots and kingfishers. So far it was not known if such colors could be discovered in fossils.
This blue structure color is created by the dense arrangement of cavities within feathers that scatter the blue light. Below is a melanin layer that absorbs unscattered light.
Paleontologists have shown that the spring itself, which consists of keratin, does not petrify while the melanin does. Thus, if a blue feather is petrified, the dark pigment may be the only surviving feature, and the feather may be interpreted as black or brown.
<div data-thumb = "https://3c1
703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/csn/news/tmb/19209/1-bluecolorton.jpg" data-src = "https://3c1703fe8d.site .internapcdn.net / newman / gfx / news / 2019/1-bluecolorton.jpg "-html =" Reconstruction of Eocoracias brachyptera with hypothetical plumage coloring Credit: Reconstruction of Marta Zaher, PhD at Bristol University. ">
Now, researchers at the University of Bristol, led by Frane Barbarovic, who is currently working at the University of Sheffield, have shown that blue pennycemes are very different from melanosomes, which are feathers that are black, maroon, brown, and iridescent , however, they overlap significantly with some gray feather melanosomes.
By looking at the feather colors of modern representatives of fossil specimens and reconstructing which color was most likely to be present in the fossil sample, they could distinguish between melanosomes significant for the gray and blue color, thus reconstructing the prehistoric Eocoracias brachyptera as a predominantly blue bird led.
Frane Barbarovic said: "We have discovered that melanosomes in blue feathers have a different size range from most color categories, and we can therefore restrict the fossils could have been originally blue."
"The overlap with gray color might be at one common mecs suggest hanism about how melanosomes are involved in the formation of gray coloration and how these structural blue colors are formed.
"Based on these results in our paper, we also assumed a possible evolutionary transition between blue and gray."
The research team must now understand which birds are more likely to be blue due to their ecology and lifestyle. The blue color is widespread in nature, but the ecology of this color and its function in the life of birds is still unclear.
Frane Barbarovic added, "We also need to understand how gray paint is made." We believe that this is different in birds than in mammals, and it depends on how the melanosome form can lead to a kind of self-organization in the feather and The surface tension of the melanosomes makes them pull into certain configurations within a spring. "
Scientists discover how birds and dinosaurs evolved to dazzle with colorful displays
"Characterization of Melanosomes Involved in the Generation of Non-Iridescent Structural Feather Colors and Their Detection in the Fossil Stock" F. Babarovic, M. Puttick, M. Zaher, E. Learmonth, EJ Gallimore, F. Smithwick, G. Mayr, and J Vinther, Interface rsif.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098 / rsif.2018.0921
University of Bristol
Blue Shades in Petrified Prehistoric Feathers (2019, June 25)
retrieved on June 25, 2019
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