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Putting Colour on Fossils

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Putting Colour on Fossils

Palaeontologists at University College Cork (UCC) have found the first molecular evidence of phaeomelanin, the pigment that produces ginger colouration, in the fossil record.  

The new study reports the preservation of molecular fragments of the pigment phaeomelanin in 10-million-year-old frogs, adding molecular analysis to the palaeontologists’ arsenal when reconstructing the original colours of extinct organisms. 

The study, published in Nature Communications, was led by palaeontologists Dr Tiffany Slater and Prof. Maria McNamara of UCC's School of Biological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences (BEES) and Environmental Research Institute (ERI). They worked with an international team of scientists at Fujita Health University (Japan), Linyi University (China) and Lund University (Sweden). 

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