• Question: What colour are fossils?

    Asked by Jessica109 to Maria, Armin on 21 Nov 2019.
    • Photo: Maria McNamara

      Maria McNamara answered on 21 Nov 2019:

      We can reconstruct the original colours of fossils by looking for traces of pigments or microscopic tissue structures. Many fossils preserved traces of melanin pigment, so we can identify body parts that were coloured black, brown, or reddish-brown. Some fossils preserve evidence of other pigments so we can make educated guesses about body parts that were green-ish. Some fossil insects and feathers preserve amazing microscopic structures that scatter light, and the fossils still actually have bright metallic colours – bright blue, bright green, red, yellow, etc. They are like little jewels in the rocks!