One of the first dinosaurs to take to the air had wings with at least one black feather, according to a new study.
To determine the color of the winged dinosaur Archaeopteryx, scientists used a scanning electron microscope to analyze a fossilized feather from one of the raven-size creatures. The fossil was discovered in a limestone deposit in Germany in 1861.
The team was surprised to discover that the microscopic structure of the ancient wing feather was identical to that of modern bird plumage.
“It means that completely modern flight feathers had evolved as early as 150 million years ago, in the Jurassic period,” said study leader Ryan Carney, an evolutionary biologist at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.