Male peacocks are justly admired for their brilliantly colored plumage. Canadian photographer Waldo Nell has captured the underlying microscopic structure behind those stunning hues in extraordinary detail in his latest photographic series.
What do a butterfly's shimmering wings, a fish's opalescent scales, and a peacock's brilliant feathers have in common? Yes, their colors are beautifully iridescent. But they are also produced by the physical interaction of light with sophisticated nanoscale architecture that we are only just beginning to understand.
Last week, researchers studying a dinosaur named Microraptor published the results of a remarkable discovery: this small, four-winged dinosaur was covered from head-to-toe in black feathers, but shone with a glossy hint of blue. In other words, its plumage was iridescent.