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Dino Feathers



Has anyone ever considered the use of feathers on Archaeopteryx and previous
birds for basking?  By that I mean I have seen any number of small and large
birds extending their wings so as to catch the maximum amount of
sunlight--and on some of the hottest days of summer! They certainly have no
need to bask, but it looks as though they are very content while at it.  (I
am aware of the aerodynamic morphology of Archaeo. feathers, so please no
letters on that.)

It is very clear by the morphology of the manus that Archaeopteryx, like
pterosaurs, was very good at hanging on tree trunks, the best places to catch
rays early in the day.  The modern frillneck lizards do likewise (and they
walk bipedally too!.  I know that feathers have no arterial connection, but
once warmed up and placed against naked skin, it must be like having a hot
blanket layed on.  This analogy is particularly apt in the case of pterosaurs
in which the wing (or pre-wing) membrane can be extended without shifting the
clinging digits.

Speaking of the morphology of the manus, can anyone report either a bird or a
dromaeosaur in which the fingers are preserved curled (flexed)?  I have never
seen a specimen that was not fully extended (but I don't have great access,
either).  Could it be that these dinosaurs had "stiff" fingers?

David Peters