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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?