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>From:  Jeff Poling[SMTP:jpoling@dinosauria.com]
>Sent:  Wednesday, October 30, 1996 11:49 AM
>To:    dinosaur@usc.edu
>Subject:       Re: FEATHERS 2
>At 11:06 AM 10/30/96 -0700, Jeffrey Martz wrote:
>>     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.

>   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?

The obvious question to ask is what is the frequency of feather
preservation (via impressions or whatever)  in specimens of fossil birds
which are known to have feathers?   

Put another way - take a species or group which you know was feathered,
and count how many specimens are recovered with feathers and how many
have no direct feather evidence.

This must be known by paleontologists familiar with fossil birds.
Unfortunately that's not me but hopefully somebody on the list will have
statistics, or know where to look.

Note that you do not necessarily need to restrict yourself to asking
this question about birds the same age as dinosaurs.   I presume that if
feather impressions fossilize well (say make it past their first million
years) then they will make it for the long term.   So you could use
statistics from much more recent birds, which are presumably numerous
enough that meaningful statistics could be gathered.