Living things are known to be bedazzled by the colours provided to them from pigment molecules – a good reason why in the flesh, seashells look so different in paleontological museums, rather than on canvas, in print, or on film. In the 1970s, a technique helped to change this, as ancient seashells were doused in sodium hypochlorite, and then had them face ultraviolet lights, which reveal colours, patterns.
This was not possible before, but it is now, despite its lack of fame. If things progress faster a lot can change however, as research shows that this technique can increase the lifespan of seashells, when examined with it. In France, specimens from the Jurassic period, revealed that complicated patterns give the sea shells a certain colour, that scientists believe did not arrive some 100mn years later.
The colour comes from leftover, degraded, pigments, so it is not possible for them to exhibit this trait in life – this new discovery will always go towards contributing to the greater debate over ancient gastropods and bivales led to the colours in seashells we see active today.