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Re: origin of feathers

     Birds have lice.  (singular: louse)  Blue jays have developed a way to 
     satisfy the itch they can't reach through the armor of the feathers by 
     using ants.  They roll, with their feathers fluffed, in ant hills and 
     let the ants crawl into their feathers.  When they are fully anted, 
     the ants supposedly deal with the lice by carrying them away back to 
     the anthill.

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: origin of feathers
Author:  freenet.carleton.ca!bk090
Originator: dinosaur@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu 
at nssi
Date:    10/3/95 10:43 AM

Here's some p ure sepculation.  I s hould be plesaed if anyone 
saw fit to sh oot it down or comment on it.
Birds do not carry fleas or lice, nor are they often bitten by 
mosquitoes.  Even the so-called b ird-lice stay in the n est 
and feed on the  young birds, and are not carried around by 
the adult birds.
I can't really see a b iting i nsect managing to bit an adult bird 
through the "armour" of the contour feathers.  Mosquitoes and 
horse flies seem to h ave co-evolved with th e mammals, and
are primarily parasites of them, not of birds.
Could feathers have evolved first as protection against 
biting insects?
>From: David Brez Carlisle
bk090@Freenet Carleton.CA