A team of international scientists led by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported the oldest fossil evidence of beta-keratin from feathers of a 130-million-year-old basal bird.
Feathers and feather-like epidermal structures are well documented in several groups of non-avian dinosaurs and basal birds. Round microbodies associated with these feathers and feather-like structures were first interpreted as microbes.
But more recently, these bodies were reinterpreted as remnant melanosomes – structures that produce pigment.
Find out more in their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.