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Re: Pterosaur hair and Dino feathers

At 11:38 PM 7/7/95, Ray McAllister wrote:
>Hi, I am in the middleof Greg Pauls Predatory Dinosauirs of the World
>and on page 122 he discusses feathers. He says trhatn feather impressions
>are known from the Ctretaceous but not from the Triassic or MOST of the
>JuraSSIC.  MY CAPS. Also, p 67, Among these are feathers, some from
>Australia. Early Cretaceous! aND " EVEN LONG WING FEATHERS KNOWN FROM
>C is importantfor it suggests that advancedflying birds had finally
>become abundant..... were shedding many feathers into lakes and lagoons"
>There arre more references to feathers but that is a start. So fly away
>little dinobird.

        Feather impressions and fossil feathers are known, of course, with
most of the _Archaeopteryx_ specimens, from the Late Jurassic of Kazhakstan
(the same place from which _Sordes_ is found), and with the contemporaneous
Korean birds.  From the Early Cretaceous, feathers are known from the
Santana Fm. of Brazil (famed for its bizarre pterosaurs), from the
Koonwarra site in Australia, the Las Hoyas sites in Spain, and sites in
China and Mongolia.  Advanced birds are represented in the Early Cretaceous
as well, from various sites in China (_Gansus_, _Sinornis_, _Cathayornis_,
_Otogornis_ and some unnamed forms), Mongolia (_Ambiortus_), Spain
(_Iberomesornis_, _Concornis_, and _Noguerornis_) and possibly France
(_Gallornis_).  It seems that birds had an at least Laurasian distribution
by the Late Jurassic, and were pretty much cosmopolitan by the Early
Cretaceous!  Of these birds, _Gansus_, _Concornis_, and _Otogornis_ seem to
be very similar to modern birds in form, testifying to their flight
capabilities, and hence (probably) their rapid distribution.  _Gansus_
appears to be a water bird, also testifying to the rapid diversification of

        Anyway...there have been claims of feathers in the Triassic:  in
particular, note should be made of the ichnogenus _Maisitisisauropus_ (yes,
that's spelled correctly!) from the Late Triassic of South Africa.  The
describer, Dr. P. Ellenberger of France notes that the paired hand- and
footprint are bird-like.  The manus (hand) print has four long, slender
digits which Ellenberger described as being surrounded by long, very skinny
impressions of "feather-like" things.  The foot was purportedly webbed.
Unfortunately, the photos of the specimens in the papers do not at all make
the impressions clear, and from what I've heard from a very few people
who've seen the actual specimen, they're not even evident in real life.  I
don't have the foggiest idea what a bird (assuming that birds are the only
creatures with feathers, which, of course, isn't the only possibility!) is
<a> doing with 4 fingers, and <b> walking quadrupedally with feathers all
over the hand.  So I doubt that they're real...but still, the idea that
feather-like integument pieces existed prior to the Late Jurassic isn't a
new one.  Just a historical note!  8-)

Jerry D. Harris
Now Impending PhD Student
        In (Surprise!) Paleontology at
        Southern Methodist University
Internet:  jdharris@teal.csn.net
CompuServe:  73132,3372
        (and thus 73132.3372@compuserve.com)

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I currently have no humorous quote to put
        in this space.

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