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Re: Avian scales



>   I've heard that birds have scales ... located on their legs and maybe
>somewhere else.  I've never questioned it ... until now.
>
>   Do birds have scales?

Yes, on their legs and around their eyes.  And all over the body, in the
modified form of feathers.

>   Are they similar to reptilian scales?

The are the same composition, phi (=beta) keratin as reptilian scales, and
different in comoposition from fish scales and mammalian hair.

>   If not, what are they?  A modified horn structure of some sort?  Modified
>feathers?

See answer above.

>   What's the implication of all this for dinosaur skin?

Nothing unexpected, only that the scales of dinosaurs were like those of
turtles and crocodillians.  However, the were NOT like those of lizards and
snakes, because their peculiar overlapping scales are a lepidosaurian
feature, and not typical of archosaur, anapsid, or other reptiles.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist
Dept. of Geology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD  20742
Email:Thomas_R_HOLTZ@umail.umd.edu (th81)
Fax: 301-314-9661
Phone:301-405-4084