Feather

Sea Slime Killing U.S. Seabirds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 30, 2009   View Article

Hundreds of birds are washing up on the shores of the U.S. Pacific Northwest coated with a foamy sea slime, scientists say.

The slime, which comes from algae blooms in the ocean, saps the waterproofing ability of the birds’ feathers, experts say.

First Proof: Ancient Birds Had Iridescent Feathers

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 26, 2009   View Article

Just like modern-day starlings, some ancient birds had glossy black feathers with a metallic, glimmering sheen, scientists report in a new study.

The discovery is based on 40-million-year-old fossils of an unidentified bird species that were stored at the Senckenburg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany for up to 30 years. The fossils represent the first evidence of ancient iridescence in feathers.

New Dinosaur Discovered: T. Rex Cousin Had Feathers

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 6, 2004   View Article

A tiny, earlier cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex sported at least a partial coat of hairlike feathers, scientists reported today. The dinosaur chased prey and roamed the lakeside forests of Liaoning Province in northern China some 130 million years ago, researchers said.

Although predicted by several paleontologists, the discovery marks the first time featherlike structures have been directly observed on a tyrannosaurid. Tyrannosaurids are predominantly large dinosaurs with short forelimbs that roamed Earth 130 to 65 million years ago.

Are Flashy Male Birds Threats to Their Own Species?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 8, 2003   View Article

For bird species whose males and females differ in color, guys with the brightest feathers tend to have the greatest lady luck. This natural mating game however puts entire local populations at risk of dying out, according to a new study.

The finding confirms the idea that the extraordinary lengths an animal will go to woo a mate, such as the peacock who spends time and energy to maintain his extravagant tail feathers, comes at a price in terms of survival.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach