The remains of dinosaurs and feather samples older than 100 million years old, were brought from China. Exploring the findings, the researchers found two types of melanosomes (organelles containing the pigments): eumelanosomy and feomelanosomy. The former have an elongated shape and are responsible for the color black, the second – spherical – give a red color.
Both species studied, “feathered” dinosaurs are theropods. One of them called Sinosauropteryx, on the tail, as it turns out, were light and dark stripes, and feathers in dark areas contain feomelanosomy and had a reddish-brown color, and light areas are likely to remain white. Another small scale dinosaur, Sinornithosaurus, could boast of feathers complex color with patches of black and reddish-brown color.
Some scientists note, doubted that the filamentary structures that are found in the study of the remains Sinosauropteryx and some other dinosaurs, can actually be considered feathers, and called mentioned pieces of connective tissue structures. These results clarify the issue: in modern birds, whose ancestors were teropodnye dinosaurs, melanosome contained not in the connective tissue, and in the feathers.
According to its intended purpose as primitive feathers could not be used, and served, most likely, for the demonstration. “We do not know what all this was supposed to mean, – concludes the lead author of the work of Michael Benton from Bristol University. – But just like stripes on the tail of the animal does not appear.