To find well-preserved feathers, the scientists traveled this May to a famed
fossil site in Germany near the village of Messel, where exquisitely preserved
47-million-year-old bird fossils are regularly dug up in an old quarry pit.
The scientists inspected several fossils and removed small pieces from 12
fossilized feathers. They returned home to put the material under a scanning
electron microscope. “You can see a surface of beautifully packed together
melanosomes,” said Richard Prum, a Yale expert on feather colors. “This looks
exactly like a grackle or a starling, where you have a dark glossy bird with a
To read the entire New York Times article visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/01/science/01feath.htmlI personally think Grackle feathers are more metallic-looking, but I'm not expert. Clearly, since I have trouble keeping starlings and grackles straight!