The pterodactyl in this artist’s impression lived in Brazil about 113 million years ago. Paleontologists already knew the extended skull crest, wings, and bone structure, but they are new Research It shows that the crest of the soft skull in particular was covered in colorful feathers.
An important discovery, because experts have been debating whether or not the delicate packaging of this species is “real” feathers for years. With new and well-preserved fossils, the study shows they were feathers, just like those of modern-day birds.
Researchers found feathers on top of the pterosaur’s skull. The first, because the soft tissues of this comb usually degrade quickly. Many melanosomes are also found in feathers, which are cells that produce colored pigments. It appears that the top of the skull, and possibly the rest of the pterodactyl, was covered with colorful feathers.
Pterosaurs may have used multicolored feathers to attract potential mates or to deter competitors.
Correction 24/4: An earlier version of this article stated that pterosaurs could not fly. this is not true. Although the feathers studied are too small to contribute to flight, the animals can indeed fly.
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