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Re: birds scales



>These are hairlike feathers, not hairs in the mammalian sense - ie they are
>not homologous to mammalian hairs.  Functionally and in appearance they are
>hairs but phylogenetically they are not (if by hair we mean, in this
>context, mammalian hair).

I think the point being made is that a feather is simply a modified hair.  The
real question is what were the steps taken to make this transformation?  If we
assume for a moment that this hair was pretty much undifferentiated until the
first aboreal theropods arrived, we could conclude that this modification
occurred to help the animals travel from branch-to-branch, or tree-to-tree.
Here's a possible evolutionary path: Hair -> Down -> Feather.

Questions, comments, snide remarks?

ROb

***
"Don't panic!"