Gliding through trees in what is now China some 130 million years ago, the microraptor sported shimmering black feathers, a new study reveals.
Mick Ellison/American Museum of Natural History/Science/AAAS/AP
Even dinosaurs can look sharp in basic black and downright iridescent.
An unusual crowlike dinosaur — which really does not look like a dinosaur at all — had glossy black feathers that were probably used to call attention to itself and find a mate, scientists say in Thursday's journal Science.
It is the oldest example of the shimmering look on animals, said study co-author Julia Clarke at the University of Texas. And in other animals, especially birds, that shine is often how males attract females to mate.
"It's like shimmery clothes and garments you would wear out to big social gatherings," said Matthew Shawkey, another co-author from the University of Akron. He said they figure it was glossy from the shape of sacs that contain pigment in a fossil found in rural China.