[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]


      _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.   

LN Jeff
"Let me guess...hes looking for the perfect dozen."