Decoding Dino Feathers

Posted on January 27, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Do we really know what dinosaurs looked like?
How do we know what color dinosaur feathers were?

Feathered Dinosaur and Ancient Bird: Dinosaur Feather Coloration

If you haven’t heard the latest dinosaur news, it is now believed that many dinos species were covered with some type of feathering. Now, by looking at well-preserved fossils of those feathers, we might be even closer to knowing what these ancient creatures looked like.

As it turns out, a feather’s coloration leaves distinct markings once it has fossilized. This means that it is possible to tell what color these long extinct creatures may have been. To explain the process of decoding dinosaur feather coloration, and some of the science behind it here’s TED-ed:

Via: TED-Ed 1

I wonder what insights will be uncovered in the coming years as more research is done to understand the connections between dinosaurs and birds.

Image: Spinosaurus skeleton bigger than T. Rex

Have you seen our article about the most recent, extraordinary discovery of a dinosaur larger and more dangerous than T. Rex? Check out our article called Spinosaurus: Bigger Than T. Rex! That’s quite a story and a mesmerizing look at how discovery often happens.

Learning through the lens of dinosaurs…

It took me a moment to grasp how much science I just learned, or was reminded of, in four minutes while watching this TED video. These were all concepts I was taught in high school, but frankly, took little notice of. Indeed, many of these concepts were taught independently of each other, and I understood the connection between them only in abstract terms.

Image: Artist Louisa Ulrich-Verderber paints her math teachers' bathroomI love this video because it takes fairly large scientific principles and brings them together to understand a universally beloved subject, dinosaurs. It seems to me, we would be able to teach students, from a young age, about some of the larger, fundamental principles of physics and chemistry if we chose the proper lens to teach from.

Sometimes, I think we underestimate ourselves in education. Very often it is not what we are taught, but how we are taught that makes the difference between an “ah-ha” moment and being left scratching our heads.

And that’s what we’d like to specialize in for you here at Ah-ha moments that remind us all that despite what the negative 24-hour news cycle is telling us, there is still so much insight, innovation and wonder to celebrate!

Here’s a collage of just a few of the topics you’ll find here…

Image: Collage of EWC pics


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Or, scroll down this page and your see a few more articles I can recommend that go nicely with this train of thought!


“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

Liesl can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV