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Re: Feathered isulation properties and other uses

Roger Stephenson wrote:

>Head, neck, and other feathers that seem useless to the flight process in
>birds do much more than isulate. Shock absorption, from wind buffetting,
>adding to stability. Also to silence flight in predators such as owls.
>Sensory input more refined than skin hair, oh I could go on, but what's the
>point? The feathers that add nothing to the power of flight offer many
>subtle enhancements.

While I don't deny that any of this is true, I do question that any of 
these are the reasons feathers developed in the first place. If you 
weren't already flying you wouldn't need the added stability and 
aerodynamics offered by body feathers. Then why would you have body 
feathers? Don't they show up in early birds (like Archie) that are 
probably not great flyers? Seems there must have been some other reason 
that feathers first developed and later they adapted for use in flight.