(What the moth looks like in glycerin)
Fossils rarely preserve evidence of original color, so we've only known the Dinosaur Era and other prehistoric times in black and white, although artists have taken creative liberties in adding color to drawings.
McNamara and her team, however, have figured out a way to tease color information out of fossils. Coloration, in turn, suggests how the long-dead individuals may have behaved and communicated, since color can play a role in both of those things.
The scientists figured out the colors by using electron microscopy and other techniques to examine fossilized scales of daytime moths that lived around 50 million years ago. The moths lived at what is now the Messel oil shale pit near Frankfurt, where numerous other high-quality fossils have been unearthed.
Evidence from anatomical details preserved in the scales helped establish the structural color of the moths' forewings, which you can see in the recreation image. McNamara says that structural colors are the brightest colors in nature - purer and more intense than chemical pigments. Tissue design generates structural colors by scattering light.