20.4.12

Friday Feathers: Microraptor's Fancy Feather Pants

In honour of the upcoming dinosaur exhibit at the Royal BC Museum I thought I'd showcase the quite sexy, ever so shiny, feathered Microraptor! These little guys were four-winged, non-avian dinosaurs that lived about 120 million year ago in the early Cretaceous. They were apparently quite common because lots of great specimens have been found, all of which came from Liaoning, China.

Species Reconstruction by Jason Brougham

I'm going to leave the detailed explanations up to the professionals, but basically it's been determined that Microraptor's feathers were a glossy, iridescent black. It all has to do with the fossilized melanosomes (pigment-bearing organelles) found on one beautifully preserved fossil. And how about those awesome tail feathers? Very cool!

Illustration by Mick Ellison

Nerd alert! I made sure I was going to be home the morning this interview with Mark Norell and Mick Ellison aired so I could watch it live. I believe I even brought my laptop out to the kitchen with me when I grabbed a second cup of coffee. (I think I need a hobby. Oh wait, this is my hobby!)



Double nerd alert! I totally want to make a Microraptor costume for Halloween this year. Any suggestions on how to make the feathers?

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