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Re: [davis@kahaku.go.jp: Q's arising from Archaeopteryx feathers]

On Mon, 30 Sep 1996, Paul Davis wrote:

> Q5.  And yet contour feathers are not preserved on Archy, correct?
> Yes and no!  The Berlin specimen shows some traces in the neck region which
> may well be body contour feathers but I have yet to convince myself.  The
> others do not show any trace in the body regions.  This is interesting
> because it may indicate that feathers first appeared on the wings and
> spread to the body later. 

        Hou, Shou, Martin & Feduccia, in vol 377 of Nature, page 616 say
that Confuciusornis specimens "provide the earliest undisputable evidence
of body contour feathers". It seems to me highly improbable that
Confuciusornis would have feathers and yet Archaeopteryx would not, and
more likely that the Solnholfen merely does not preserve them. It would
also appear, if in fact such stuff does exist, that the Solnholfen does a
poor job of preserving pterosaur fur. 

-And from another post-

> 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.

        Does anyone else see an obvious problem here? If Archaeopteryx had
body feathers and they didn't preserve except in rare cases, why on earth 
should we expect to find them on Compsognathus? 
        How does the record of Mesozoic mammal fur compare? I can't think
of a single example, yet I've never heard anybody refer to the idea of
furry multituberculates or hairy primitive placentals as "rot". 

        Nick Longrich