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Prehistoric pigments reveal how melanin has shaped bird and mammal evolution

By Maria McNamara, Professor, Palaeobiology, University College Cork
Tiffany Slater, PhD Researcher, Palaeobiology, University College Cork
Valentina Rossi, PhD Researcher, Palaeobiology, University College Cork
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One of the goals of palaeontology is to bring the past to life. In recent years, some spectacular discoveries have revealed unprecedented glimpses into fossilised animals and their lives.

We know some dinosaurs cared for their young, that the earliest bees were pollinators, and what some ancient birds and crickets sounded like. But one question has remained elusive for decades: what colours were ancient beasts? For years, palaeontologists were unable to…

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