Late last week, an outrageous study was published in Nature, which claimed to be able to scientifically prove the color of a dinosaur. Two paleontologists and an ornithologist, working off of an extraordinarily well-preserved specimen, compared the fossilized melanosomes (itty bitty organelles that produce pigment) of the dinosaur with those of different birds of today. The result? The first genuine reconstruction of what a dinosaur looked like in life.
So, yes. Hundreds of millions of years ago, there were carnivorous woodpeckers with teeth running around.
The dino in question is called Anchiornis. It only got to be about the size of a chicken. The scientists don’t believe it could actually fly, but rather that the feathers served numerous display purposes, conveying anything from “Hey, step off my turf,” to “How you doin’?”. You can read more about the study here.
This is cool in so very many ways. I mean, think about it: we can now conclusively know what an animal that lived 155 million years ago looked like. That’s just mind-boggling. Even wilder is the fact that it looks like something living and breathing and flying around today. I guess Mother Nature sticks with what works.
You can geek out with me. It’s all right. You’ll get your cool back with the Super Bowl tonight.