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Results of DINOSAUR INSULATION SURVEY
I am forwarding the original message since, well, no one seemed to say a
thing about the results.
The raptor of all raptors,
Subj: Results of DINOSAUR INSULATION SURVEY
Date: 95-12-21 16:31:26 EST
From: Raptor RKC
CC: Raptor RKC
Do any of you remember the "dinosaur insulation" survey I ran a few months
ago? Well, if you don't, here is the original posting:
I am trying to do a survey about the popularity of dinosaurian insulation.
With the endothermic dinosaurs and dinosaur-to-bird transition
(Archaeopteryx is supported as an avian ancestor by Sinornis; Protoavis
simply does not deserve its name) growing more and more popular, I have
observed that more and more people are believing that some dinosaurs had an
insulative covering of feathers. But, I must note, feathers (or degenerated
feathers) should only be put on small, active dinosaurs, such as the small
theropods and small ornithopods, but feathers may also have been on the
youngsters of large dinosaurs. We have probably not yet found feather
imprints on these kinds of dinosaurs because, for one, small dinosaurs are
much less common than large ones (the bones are more fragile), and two, the
conditions under which many small dinosaurs have been preserved just doesn't
favor feather imprints. Compsognathus's lack of feather imprints (it was
preserved in the same lithographic limestone that preserved Archaeopteryx so
well) is used as evidence that the chicken-sized theropod did not have them
-- but, of course, a couple of Archaeopteryx specimens didn't have any
feathers on them, either.
This is part of a school project that is trying to chart our
oh-so-constantly-changing beliefs about dinosaurs -- and this feather theory
is one of them. I would really appreciate it if you could take a few seconds
and tell me what YOU think.
Just email me at Raptorrkc@aol.com (short, simple address), and in the body
of your letter just type in Yes if you believe some dinosaurs may have had
feathers, and No if you think the whole idea is a crock. After your answer,
you can write some comments (comments concerning your answer and the actual
popularity of the feather theory would help). Here is an example:
COMMENTS: small theropods and small ornithopods may have had feathers
Theropodian feathers may have originated with the podokesaurs as modified
scales, and served as aid in endothermy; the feathers could have been contour
at first, covering most of the body, and degenerated into fur-like structures
for mainly land-bound theropod....
Don't pay any attention to the example; it's just an example.
Once I get twenty or more replies, I will post the results of the survey.
Thank you very much!
Raptor RKC (Rachel Clark)
For any of you who participated, and were curious about the final results,
here they are! At last!!
RESULTS OF DINOSAUR INSULATION SURVEY
Total no. of votes: 24
(NOTE: The following percentages are ESTIMATED.)
1) YES to nonaviandinosaurs, in general, bearing insulation?
2) YES to insulation on many or most small theropods? ---> 38%
3) YES to insulation _just_ in animals closely related to _Archaeopteryx_?
4) YES to insulation in the young of larger dinosaurs? ---> 17%
5) YES to insulation in most small ornithopods? --->
6) NO to insulation in nonavian dinosaurs? --->
7) MAYBEs to insulation in nonavian dinosaurs? ---> 8%
(NOTE: for numbers 2-5, I only counted a vote if the voter specified that in
her or his "comment box.")
So it appears that the speculative theory of 'nonavian' dinosaurs bearing an
insulative covering of feathers (some voters pointed out other uses for
feathers, but I won't get into that) has taken priority! At least, most of
those on this mailing list who DON'T think insulation in nonavian dinosaurs
is a valid theory have not stepped forward.
But I must say one thing: most of the voters simply liked the idea, and could
not find reasons that it was actually SCIENTIFIC.
I hope you all find the results interesting!