Bright feathers give hints about dino vision

shimmering forehead of a long-tailed Sylph
The shimmering forehead of a long-tailed Sylph, along with other brightly plumed birds, may offer clues about how dinosaurs wore feathers and what they saw when looking at each others' plumage. Georg Oleschinski/University of Bonn

Dinosaurs may have seen the world in brilliant ultraviolet light and turquoises, along with the standard blues, greens and reds we can see.

In a perspective in the Oct. 24 Science, researchers review recent findings about feathered dinosaurs and speculate on what the creatures could see and how their extraordinary vision may have been a main driver in the evolution of birds’ flashy feather frocks.

The team also proposes a detailed way to test the idea with fossil evidence of dinosaur feathers.

photo of Ashley Yeager

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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