STL Science Center

STL Science Center

03 June 2015

Small Thieves

While some thought, or think, that Microraptor was only capable of gliding flight, we saw some papers yesterday that thought it was capable of powered flight. Regardless of the actual flight abilities of the dinosaur, we know that it had feathers and that those feathers carried black pigmentation. The fossilized melanosomes sound like the subject of speculation and science fiction, but they were found, analyzed, and determined to resemble those cells associated with the color black. The cells were found in the long pennacious feathers of the dinosaur, those capable of flight. The feathers were, of course, the key trait regarding the ability to fly in these small dinosaurs. all four limbs and the tail were feathered, and that feathering constructed what appears to have been a sturdy airfoil like those found in extant birds.

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