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silly question

Please excuse an interruption by a keen lurker with some uninformed questions.

I have had a life long interest in the forces of evolution and the
reptile-dinosaur period has always been on of my focuses since so much
development seems to have happened during that long period. I can
understand how, for instance, there may have been a reptile pressure to be
egg retentive and mammals may have developed (although how they managed to
develop breasts at the same time - maybe internal feeding like a kangaroo for
awhile) is a bit of a mystery. But feathers are another thing. There are
some coasting mammals like flying squarrels, and some flying mammals like
the bat and some flying dinosaurs like archaeopteryx. But what strange force
of nature  started the development of these feathers? Is there fossil
record of this happening? Were Dino birds well developed when the K-T
event took place? Were they diverse enough to have split off in to ducks
and birds by then? I've been sitting out in my back porch all summer
watching the bird feeder and and trying to imagine a Nuthatch as a T-Rex.
If I squint my eyes I can almost do it.

Thanks for any replies.


Gary Vatnsdal                        Red River Community College
(204) 632-2332                       2055 Notre Dame Avenue
RRLGARY@CC.UMANITOBA.CA              Winnipeg, Manitoba
FAX (204) 697-4791                   Canada  R3H 0J9