Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Science of Science Fiction: What Color is Your Dinosaur?

This article, while it doesn't particularly inspire me with story ideas, is still pretty cool. Some dinosaur fossils have structures that appear to be feathers, although not all scientists agree that's what they are. By looking at these structures under the microscope, scientists can compare them to feathers of modern birds. Both the fossilized structures and feathers have tiny components called melanosomes, or colored bodies. The melanosomes in the fossils appear to come in two kinds so far: one gray to black; the other, reddish and white. There isn't enough data yet to speculate what a dinosaur's overall colors were white, but this might give some writers ideas for describing dinosaurs or even aliens. And the purpose of a particular coloring? Again, that's something for you to play with.

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