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At 11:06 AM 10/30/96 -0700, Jeffrey Martz wrote:

>     I seem to remember the gentleman who did his work on feather 
>taphonomy noting that feathers are actually slower to decay then skin 
>(and therefore, scales).  I stupidly erased the posting, but if this is 
>the case I would interpret this to mean if feather impressions are MORE 
>LIKELY to be preserved than skin impressions, so the types of 
>conditions that preserve skin impressions should be at least as likely 
>to preserve feather impressions.  
>     In summary, if skin rots faster then feathers, we should expect 
>feather impressions to be at least as common under the same preservational 
>circumstances, if feathers were really widespread.
>     Keep in in mind we are talking about IMPRESSIONS.  Not 
>neccessarily particular chemical conditions that would preserve some trace 
>(such as a carbon stain) the actual feather, but just taking the skin 
>and/or feather and pressing it into the sediment to leave an impression.  

   It is my impression (no pun intended) that regardless of how quickly the
feather, skin, hair or whatnot rots, sedimentation conditions STILL have to
be of a certain type to preserve impressions.  Regardless, how do we know
for certain that feather impressions WEREN'T preserved?  It's only been
recently that paleo types even started looking around skeletons for
impressions.  I remember reading somewhere that even as recently as the 70s,
the fossils were just "hacked" out of the rock, and I recall reading about
one case where a paleontologist noted little clumps of destroyed skin
impressions laying around after a fossil was dug out....

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