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Press Release 12-043

Iridescent, Feathered Dinosaur: New Evidence That Feathers Evolved to Attract Mates

Earliest record of iridescent color in feathers

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Image showing reconstruction of Microraptor.

Reconstruction of Microraptor based on new specimen and overlays of previous specimens.

Credit: Mick Ellison/AMNH


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Artist's rendering of Microraptor in its ancient habitat.

Artist's rendering of Microraptor in its ancient habitat, iridescent plumage showing.

Credit: Jason Brougham/UT-Austin


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Reconstruction of a lone Microraptor in a forest.

Microraptor in age-old time: here, shown alone in the forest.

Credit: Jason Brougham/UT-Austin


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Image showing tips of Microraptor's well-preserved leg feathers, from beneath its tail.

Detail of the tips of Microraptor's well-preserved leg feathers, from beneath its tail.

Credit: Mick Ellison/AMNH


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Image showing elongate, mid-line feathers in Microraptor's tail-feathering.

Microraptor's tail-feathering, showing elongate, mid-line feathers.

Credit: Mick Ellison/AMNH


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Image showing tail feathering in Microraptor specimens.

Tail feathering in Microraptor specimens; arrows indicate feathers from the new specimen.

Credit: Mick Ellison/AMNH


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Cover of the March 9, 2012 issue of the journal Science.

The researchers' work is described in the March 9, 2012 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2012


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