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Re: feathers, hair and Compsognathus

Paul Davis wrote:
> Actually there is no evidence that pterosaurs are furry (or to use the
> correct term - pelage - as fur is a mammalian structure).  The only
> evidence there is comes from Sordes pilosus and a Solnhofen specimen. 
> Unwin and Bakhurina (1994 Nature 371 p.62-64) state that the pelage seen in
> these specimens are, in fact, the fibres-stiffing rods that give strength
> to the patagium (also the uro- and propatagiums). 

I'm sorry, you are incorrect.  Wellnhofer has identifiied them in quite a 
large number of Solnhoffen pterosaurs (not just from Sordes, which I know 
isn't Solnhoffen), AND at this week's SVP he will be presenting a paper on a 
newly discovered specimen of Pterodactylus that indeed does have pelage on 
its wings AND on its neck and throat pouch, indicating that pterosaurs were 
indeed hairy (I can say that right?  Palagey just doesn't sound right).  This 
pelage canot be explained away as "wing-stiffening" fibers, as Unwin and 
Bakhurina have done with Sordes' (which I think is a fairly large load of BS, 
but that's for another time).

> So all you dino-art people start painting/modeling them without!

Absolutely not!

Paul Davis also wrote (quoting me):
> > Am I correct in my thinking that absolutely NO non-lepidosaurs have
> > overlapping scales?  This is what you're advocating isn't it?  From
> > the verbal discriptions I've heard so far, it seems far more likely
> > that the structures are indeed feathers, and not overlapping
> > Lepidosaur-style scales.  Also, all known dinosaurian scales are
> > non-overlapping (there is a proper word for this right?), like
> > Edmontosaurus, Carnotaurus et cetera.
> Up to last week all reptiles were not feathered - yet you now believe this
> to be untrue.

No.... Birds are (unfortunately) Reptiles in the cladistic sense.  Why do you 
hold so strongly to Linean taxonomic nomenclature that makes up huge doubly 
paraphyletic taxonomic groupings like the old-style reptiles?

> So why not overlapping scales instead?

Because overlapping scales are a derived Lepidosaur synapomorphy.  _NO_ 
non-lepidosaur has overlapping scales.  If you found a snake fossil that had 
overlapping things and said they were feathers, I would say no, they are 
probably scales because NO non-archosaur (just bear with me) has feathers.  
Same thing.  You are pulling features from groups that aren't that related and 
can't have these features in common (I know they CAN, but you get what I'm 

>  I was just indicating until i have actually examined the specimen
> closely I am not prepared to shout 'feathers' from the rooftops.
> They don't appear to be feathers from the PHOTOGRAPHS but the photos
> are not great!

You said they look like overlapping *things*.  Based on the evidence that NO 
non-lepidosaur has overlapping scales, AND the fact that birds are theropods, 
AND this fossil is of a theropod, AND birds have feathers, AND feathers had 
to start evolving sometime or another; it is more logical to assume that 
these overlapping things are in fact feathers AND NOT overlapping scales

Peter Buchholz