Scientists have found a way to uncover feathered dinosaurs' true colors, and one of the first creatures to come under inspection is none other than Archaeopteryx — an iconic but mysterious theropod believed by many to be the "missing link" between dinosaurs and birds.
Now, by examining a single, exceptionally well-preserved feather, one group of paleontologists believes it has the evidence it needs to weigh in on the color of Archaeopteryx's prehistoric plumage. This bird, say the researchers, wore black.
There are only eleven fossilized Archaeopteryx on Earth. The most recently discovered specimen was unveiled last October, but the very first was recovered over 150 years ago from a slab of limestone in Bavaria, Germany. Also recovered with the first Bavarian specimen was a single fossil feather, which, according to Science Magazine, is the only remnant of the 150-million-year old species to be preserved in the form of organic matter, as opposed to an impression or a cast.