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Re: Dino feathers discovered!!!!

On Thu, 10 Oct 1996, Paul Davis wrote:

> Confuciusornis specimens (including the ones with feathers). The little 
> dino is almost certainly a compsognathid and the feathers are relatively 
> short, preserved mostly along the neck and back with very short ones (which 
> actually look more like scales near the vent) along the top and the bottom 
> of the tail. 

I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        I would also propose a hat's off to Gregory "Nobody ever listens
to me!" Paul who's proposed this for years. Many of the ideas he argues 
may not pan out, but some of them- like this one, or speculation in PDW
about Oviraptor guarding its eggs- do with a vengeance. Yes, some of us do
listen to you, so no more feeling sorry for yourself ;). (Although
personally I never agreed with those darn naked tails he
draws- but then, I usually draw mine pretty bushy, which isn't quite
right either! ).  
        Someone also said a while back that Oviraptor would look a lot
better with some feathers to help cover those eggs, I believe- a sentiment
I now have no qualms about agreeing with openly. 
        Wow. I guess now the question is, How far back do they go? This is
just @#%^$&^& incredible.... but it just begs to be answered whether
ornithopods had them too. Here's where the cladograms get really
interesting. Anything that fits in the clade uniting this animal and birds
will most parsimoniously be assumed to be feathered. I would guess that
would include T. rex, in which case we would do well to agree with (again,
yes, we DO listen from time to time!) the idea that the thing lost it's
feathers since it's size was more than adequate insulation. Everyone
realizes, of course, that this is the most ironclad evidence of endothermy
(at the very least, in one large branch of Dinosauria) you could ever ask
for. It just doesn't get any better than this. 
        Cripes. So that's our question, now- are they a specialized
feature of one branch of the dinosaur family tree (heheh- I just had a
thought- feathered segnosaurs. Now doesn't that look funny! Sorry,
George. ;) ) or do they perhaps go all the way back to the base or- god
only knows- back to pterosaurs, if pterosaurs are close enough? I'm having
trouble picturing feathers poking from between the scutes of a
Scutellosaurus... but hell, anything is possible now. 
        What a brave new
world, that has such dinos in it!
        Nick Longrich