By Laura Geggel, Senior Writer | January 11, 2018 01:20pm ET
Scientists have discovered a surprisingly "visionary" detail about a dinosaur-age bird that had a tooth-filled beak: It could likely see in color.
An analysis of the 120-million-year-old bird revealed that the creature's eye tissues — more specially, its rods and cones — had fossilized in remarkable condition. (Whereas rods sense grey tones, cones detect colors.)
"We discovered a fossilized bird eye with soft tissue for the first time in the world," said study co-researcher Baochun Zhou, an associate professor of paleontology at the Shanghai Natural History Museum, in China. [Avian Ancestors: Images of Dinosaurs That Learned to Fly]