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MORE FEATHERS & NEKKID MAMMALS
_This posting is about more feathers and nekkid mammals_
One little observation that may or may not provide some relevancy
to the feathered dinosaur debate: ELEPHANTS ARE NOT HAIRLESS. It has
been used as an argument that since pachyderms are unusually hairless,
that all mammals might therefore be restored as being hairless.
Most elephants may not ahve big shaggy coats, but they are pretty bristly
if you look at one close up. Hippos and rhinos also have at least a
little bit of hair in some parts of thier body. As a matter of fact,
don't even whales have a little bit of hair?
We may not have huge samples of dinosaur skin,
but we have enough to know that scales were present in at least some
sauropods, theropods, ceratopsians, and ornithopods. Yes, for most
specimens we do not have either scale or feather impressions. However, we
KNOW that a lot of adult dinosaurs WERE SCALED, that these scales come from
dinosaurs were presumably inherited from these scales from
scaled ancestors. ANY feathers within dinosaurs at all are known from TWO
SMALL THEROPODS to date (possibly three, when the Paleocanimimus paper comes
out). Might juviniles of the known scaley species have had feathers?
Perhaps. But modern reptile young do not possess them. Perhaps the extant
phylogenetic bracket alone does not favor feathers or scales, but the
phylogenetically widepread nature of scale impressions among
the dinosaurs, and the relatively extremely rare and
phylogenetically confined (to a few theropods) nature of known
feather impressions cannot be ignored.
In summary: We know that modern reptiles have scales, we know
that modern reptile young do not have feathers, we have a phylogenetically
broad sampling of scaley dinosaur skin, we have a couple of feather
impressions from a phylogenetically confined theropod group. What PURELY
NON-SPECULATIVE reason is there to beleive that feathers were a
wide-spread dinosaur trait, or for that matter present in ANY
non-coelurosaur, juvinile or adult? This may change, but for the time
being, Occam's Razor says most dinosaurs were scaled.
"Let me guess...hes looking for the perfect dozen."