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Oops, missed that fossil iridescence

Nanostructures on preserved feather bear first fossil evidence of bird color not from pigments

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12:09pm, August 28, 2009

Birds shimmered at least 40 million years before custom car paints, according to a new look at old fossils.

 Exquisitely preserved bits of feathers from Germany’s Messel Oil Shale deposits near Darmstadt bear swaths of oblong lumps some 1 to 1.5 micrometers wide. The structures provide the first fossil evidence of bird iridescence, Jakob Vinther of Yale University and his colleagues report online August 25 in Biology Letters.

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