The rain­bow dino duck

How It Works - - HISTORY -

A duck-sized di­nosaur that had the ba­sic shape of a bird and the snout of a rap­tor likely lit up the forests of the Me­so­zoic era with its flashy dis­plays. Named as Cai­hong juji, or ‘rain­bow with the big crest’, the re­cently dis­cov­ered an­cient an­i­mal’s fos­silised re­mains were found with bril­liantly pre­served feath­ers that had re­tained frag­ments of pig­ment sacs known as melanosomes. The shape and ori­en­ta­tion of these sacs is most sim­i­lar to those of iri­des­cent hummingbird feath­ers, mean­ing that Cai­hong juji likely had a plumage that vi­brantly shone in the colours of the rain­bow. We can only spec­u­late as to its pur­pose, but hum­ming­birds and pea­cocks em­ploy vi­brant, colour­ful dis­plays when court­ing a mate, so it may be that this di­nosaur found love the same way.

Modern rep­tiles such as the Ko­modo dragon in­spired us to think that all di­nosaurs were scaled, not feath­ered

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.