The paleocolor list

I apologize for the lack of updates. As you may or may not know, I presented my azhdarchoid phylogeny at the 1st Palaeontological Virtual Conference, and I’ve been trying to get something done with it elsewhere (fingers crossed!)

And now for something completely different: paleocolor! For only a tiny fraction of fossil taxa do scientists and paleoartists have any indication of color, be it through preserved melanosomes, preserved patterns, genetic inference, or even cave art. This can certainly be useful in reconstructing the past and understanding the evolution of color. However, information on paleocolor can be pretty scattered; Albertonykus’ In Living Color (Maybe) and megabass22’s Colouration in Mesozoic creatures are good starting points, but there isn’t one big handy list of paleocolor available.

So I made one.

This list summarizes every indication of prehistoric color I’m aware of, with relevant citations. I’m nowhere near a competent enough visual artist to attempt visualizing each of these (note to self: add images in the future, that might be useful). As well, some lines of evidence (e.g. cave art) may not close the case when it comes to color for certain taxa. Nonetheless, I hope this list can be useful. Please let me know if there’s anything that I missed!

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