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feathered coelurosaurs



>I recently checked out Bakker's _Dinosaur_Heresies_ from a local library, 
>and I saw a picture of what appeared to be a coelursaur (specifically, 
>Deinonychus, as I recall) with feathers. That's the first time I'd ever 
>heard of that possibility. What I'd like to know is, how probable is it that 
>deinonychus had feathers? Is it accurate?
>

Well, from a cladisitic standpoint, there are nearly 9000 extant species of
feathered coelurosaurs...

But more to the point, the only potential case of feathers or feather-like
structures in nonavian dinosaurs known at present are the integumentary
features of the recently described Pelecanimimus.  These consist of two
series of fibres, one oriented perpendicular to the body, the other
parallel.  Unforutnately, the photographs do not show them very well, and I
haven't seen them in person yet.

It must be pointed out that the impression of feathers can only be
preserved in very special cicumstances (such as the quiet anoxic carbonate
lagoons of the Solnhofen).  As most dinosaurs are preserved from
environments without fine-grained mud, there is no chance of feather
preservation.  Thus, while there is not positive evidence of feathers in
nonavian coelurosaurs, we have no positive information to reject the
possibility, either.
                                     
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist in Exile
U.S. Geological Survey
Branch of Paleontology & Stratigraphy
MS 970 National Center
Reston, VA  22092

email:  tholtz@geochange.er.usgs.gov 
Phone:  703-648-5280
FAX:            703-648-5420