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Re: Ruffled feathers

On Tue, 1 Oct 1996, Paul Davis wrote:

> I should also point out that there is no difference in the
> preservation potential of contour feathers (contour feathers are
> comprised of 2 types - those of the body and modified -only
> morphologically- ones which are the flight feathers of the wing.
> there is no difference in either structure or composition).
> Therefore if the specimen is preserving these 'wing feathers' it
> should preserve those on the body as well.

        It seems to me, racking my brain to remember bird carcasses I have
found, that the wing and tail feathers are the last to go in
decomposition. I don't know if Archaeopteryx was buried soon after death
or found a more roundabout way to the ocean, but the birds I recall retain
their tail and wing feathers long after the body feathers are falling off,
for whatever reason. I'm curious about whether any scale imprints have
been found in the Solnholfen, however. If the preservational conditions
are that good, have any scale impressions been found on Compsognathus or

>The only plausible explanation from a taphonomic point
> of view is that they weren't there to preserve in the first place.

        This would mean that either Archaeopteryx lost its
contour feathers, or that Confuciusornis developed them separately from
modern birds.