Contact: J.B. Bird
University of Texas at Austin
Caption: These are two of the fossil specimens sampled from the Cretaceous and Jurassic of China. Fuzz-covered dinosaur Beipiaosaurus shows the rounder melanosomes seen in living lizards and crocodilians while the bird shows the unique skinny melanosomes seen in living mammals, birds and many of the studied feathered dinosaurs to date. Changes in the diversity of these melanin-containing organelles may show a physiological shift occurred in feathered dinosaurs closer to the origin of flight.
Credit: Li et al. (authors).
Usage Restrictions: None
Related news release: Revision to rules for color in dinosaurs suggests connection between color and physiology