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Researchers Find Color In Fossils 77

Science News has a look at the latest paleontological fashion: what may be the remains of pigment in fossilized feathers 100 million years old. The material in question is believed to be black melanin, on the evidence of its similarity in scanning-microscope images to the modern pigment. The researchers are hopeful of identifying other varieties of melanin, which provide red or yellow coloration; and also possibly of spotting fossilized nanostructures of melanin that create iridescent patterns in some modern animals.
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Researchers Find Color In Fossils

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  • Science is so cool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Telvin_3d ( 855514 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @07:34PM (#24460515)

    Science is so awesome, in the most original sense of the word. It inspires awe.
    Look at what these people are doing. They have odd bits of animals that died uncountable millions of years ago (except they figured out ways of counting them) and put the bits back together. And now they think they can figure out what colour they were? That is fantastic!

    Anyone who says that the knowledge of why and how things work somehow ruins the experience has no real wonder in their soul. There is nothing more awe inspiring than pulling back the curtain on some new piece of knowledge.

  • by phulegart ( 997083 ) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @09:08PM (#24461171)

    I suppose it is part of learning about the past.

    I suppose that it is all about not wanting to remain ignorant.

    I suppose it is an extension of "Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it." Now, I'm sure plenty of ignorant people will reply about how we don't need to know about what color dinosaurs were to avoid following in their footsteps... and they would be right. However, once we start standardizing what parts of our past we don't need to learn about, the list grows until it includes things we SHOULD learn about and remember...

    Then there is the whole thing about pigmentation, and if we find what pigmentation survives fossilization, we can make better, more permanent inks. It might turn out that creatures of a certain color lasted longer than others did, which could in turn assist our survival. Who knows what we could learn from this... except we know we can learn nothing from it if we don't study it.

    But I doubt that even occurred to you.

    you know.. all that bogus stuff that deals with knowledge.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault