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Ancient birds had iridescent feathers

A study of 40-million-year-old fossils show that some ancient birds had glossy black feathers with a metallic, glimmering sheen.

Previously scientists had thought that the microscopic color capsules were bacteria that had consumed the feather during fossilization, Prum said.

The melanosome discovery “led us to start looking at feathers that were extraordinarily well preserved, and that led us to the [newly studied] fossils,” he said.

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