Contact: J.B. Bird
University of Texas at Austin
Caption: The "rules" allowing color reconstruction from the shape of melanin-containing organelles originate with feathered dinosaurs, and are associated with an increase in melanosome diversity. However, fuzzy dinosaurs like T. rex and Sinosauropteryx show a pattern found in other amniotes like lizards and crocodilians in which a limited diversity of shapes doesn't allow color reconstruction. An explosion in the distribution of the shapes of melanin-containing organelles preserved in living taxa and the fossil record may point to a key physiological shift within feathered dinosaurs.
Credit: Li et al. (authors).
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Related news release: Revision to rules for color in dinosaurs suggests connection between color and physiology