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At 14:40 30/10/96 -0500, Jeff Martz wrote:

>Peter Buchholz wrote:
>> All birds are reptiles and all bird young that I know of have feathers.
>    Birds are born smooth skinned in the areas that will later 
>produce feathers.

Okay, guys, let's settle this.  In fact you're both right (and wrong).  Many
birds are hatched with feathers, but not all.  According to various articles
in "A Dictionary of Birds", embryonic development of feather precursors in
the domestic fowl begins at about 8 days of incubation, and of course you
know that hatchling domestic chicks are covered with down.  So are hatchling
ducks, shorebirds, grebes, rails, gulls, herons, owls and other birds.  Only
11 families of birds (eg pelicans) have lost all down in hatchlings, though
in many others with altricial young there is very little down present (think
of hatchling songbirds).
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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