Dinosaur eggs and Melanosomes
Asked Jul 12, 2012, 11:27 PM
I'm an Aerospace Engineering student with a great interest in paleontology and biology. I was hoping someone here might be able to help me out with a question.
Recently, scientists were able to determine the coloration of the Troodontid, Anchiornis, by examining the fossilized feathers under an electron microscope. The concentration and distribution of the bar and sphere-like melanosomes showed them the specific color of individual feathers, which ranged from red to black.
This technique is being applied to other specimens to give us some indication of what these animals looked like, however many lack feathers or scales to make such a measurement even possible.
I remembered that dinosaur nests and egg fossils were discovered as well, and hatched an idea. To me, it makes sense that a fossil egg would shield it's contents in a static, unchanging environment. If so, can someone drill into one and find fossilized scales and feathers to measure melanosome concentration?
I've done some basic research on them, but I wasn't able to find the information I was looking for, specifically the degree of preservation. Are they usually preserved in such a way that leave feathers and scales largely intact within the shell? Or might some small volumes of the egg's interior, like where the skin of the embryo was, contain chemical compositions indicative of one color or another?
Please let me know what you think.