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Re: Fossil feathers.



At 09:58 AM 9/23/96 -0500, "Antoni Lacasa" <fossils@redestb.es> wrote:

>It has been said a lot about the Maniraptora group for its relations
>with early birds (=protobirds). But there is litte about bibliography
>and studies on fossil feathers.Feathers are very important in fly
>evolution!
>The feather structure is unique. They have numerous functions: thermic
>insulation, (in protobirds=dino-birds perhaps ready
>semi-endothermics/endogenothermics/), waterproof,sexual distinctive,
>etc...and, after,..for flying (now main function, but not in the
>beggining)

        The folks who try to make Archaeopteryx into a heterotherm (or
whatever) don't seem to have come up with sufficient explanation of where
the feathers came from, for, as Greg Paul has pointed out, naked or hairy
pre-flyers become bats or pterosaurs, ie. without feathers.  The
cold-blooded dinosaur folks never quite seem to explain where feathers fit
into the naked-dromaeosaur-becomes-archy-with-flight-feathers sequence
either.  Neither have the scientists arguing for bulk enothermy explained
what the young dinos did until they got big enough to keep their body
temperature up (maybe they were altricial, oops, that can't possibly be the
case now, can it, because they're cold blooded...).  No matter how you slice
it, someone in there had feathers before birds adapted them for flight.
Just like George Olshevsky has arms, not wings.  ;)
        Personally, until further evidence comes along, or until someone can
convince me otherwise, I'll be just as happy to throw my hat in with Paul,
and say it's likely that all small theropods had feathers.  If I'm wrong,
wow, science has happened.
        Wagner
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Jonathan R. Wagner                    "You can clade if you want to,     |
| Department of Geosciences              You can leave your friends behind |
| Texas Tech University                  Because your friends don't clade  |
| Lubbock, TX 79409                               and if they don't clade, |
| znc14@ttacs1.ttu.edu                   Then they're no friends of mine." |
|       Web Page:  http://faraday.clas.virginia.edu/~jrw6f                 |
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