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The Cause of 50 Million-Year-Old Colour

Andrew R. Parker and David R. McKenzie
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 270, Supplement: Biology Letters (Nov. 7, 2003), pp. S151-S153
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3592339
Page Count: 3
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The Cause of 50 Million-Year-Old Colour
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Abstract

Multilayer reflectors cause structural, 'metallic' colours in a diversity of animals today, yet are unknown in extinct species. We identify a multilayer reflector, causing structural colour, in a 50-million-year-old beetle from Messel, Germany. It is proposed that the original material of this reflector has been preserved, although this is not a precondition for determining original colours from ancient multilayer reflectors. Therefore, the potential exists to reveal the original colours of other (particularly arthropod) extinct species.

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