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Archaeopteryx feathers and taphonomy.

Stan Friesen  writes:

> Thus the fact that *none* of the three (I believe that is the right
> count) specimens of _Compsognatus_ have any discernable feather
> impressions, while most of the _Archaeopteryx_ specimens *do* have
> feather impressions, is of some significance. It suggests that any
> feathers on C. were rather softer, and thus less preservable, than
> those on A.

George Olshevsky writes:

> Indeed it is eminently possible. So--why don't they show up in
> either of the two otherwise virtually complete specimens of
> _Compsognathus_? As you note, they could have washed away after
> falling out, but then we have to account for why the little
> carcasses themselves were otherwise so undisturbed. After all, the
> feathers didn't wash away in _Archaeopteryx_ (except in those
> specimens that are practically dismembered), and the taphonomy of
> the _Compsognathus_ specimens is quite similar.

[and many other contributor snipped but you should get the general gist]

Hells teeth!  I've never heard so much rot coming from so many sensible
(normally!) people. 
1. There is 1 Comsognathus specimen from Solnhofen (the other specimen is
from another locality in France)
2. ALL the specimens of Archaeopteryx (both species) have feathers
preserved even the partially disarticulated ones
3. The taphonomy of feathers is well documented and they don't just wash
away! ( i'm angry 'cos I sweated blood writing the bloody things)
4.  There are no feathers from any deposits before the upper Jurassic
(there are many sites that should preserve them - and they are common in
deposits which have these right taphonomic conditions - this should tell
you something!!)
5.  A canada goose has about 30000 feathers -so work out how many would be
needed to cover a small dinosaur!!! - and still there are none
6. The solnhofen Compsognathus has eggs preserved as well as it's stomach
contents - ie the conditions were perfect to preserve feathers - therefore
if Compsognathus had feathers they would be preserved - it didn't therefore
they weren't.

If anybody wants a copy of my latest paper (which comes out in december) on
the Taphonomy of Archaeopteryx then drop me an e-mail with your snailmail
address (I'll even throw in a copy, of the obviously never read, feather
taphonomy paper) - If George gets away with advertising so can I (can't I

[Yes, as long as you ask and include my name.  That's the
 toll.  Actually it's just a joke.  No need to ask.  -- MR ]


Dr. Paul G. Davis
Division of Vertebrate Palaeontology, National Science Museum, 3-23-1
Hyakunin-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169, Japan.
e-mail davis@kahaku.go.jp
Tel + 81 3 3364 2311
Fax. + 81 3 3364 7104