Demystifying Science: What was the ‘Rainbow Dinosaur?’

This month, in January, palaeontologists discovered a unique dinosaur fossil with feathers so well-preserved that they were able to see the microscopic colour-bearing structures of the feathers. By comparing the shapes of those feather structures with the ones in modern day bird feathers, they were able to infer that the new dino, Caihong juji, had iridescent rainbow feathers like a hummingbird.

Caihong juji was tiny, about the size of a duck, with a bony crest on its head and long, ribbon-like feathers. And, based on analysis of its fossilised feathers, the feathers on its head, wings, and tail were probably iridescent, with colours that shimmered and shifted in the light. Its name reflects its appearance; in Mandarin, it means “rainbow with the big crest.” The new species was first discovered by a farmer in northeastern China and the Paleontological Museum of Liaoning acquired the fossil from him.—Science Daily

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 1:08:07 PM |

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