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Re: Dino sex and therm tally rant (and feather origins thrown in)

Yes, most geese and ducks (along with some other birds) purposefully pull
feathers out from their breasts to line their nests.  The feathers even
help insulate the eggs when the incubating bird takes a break (hence why
eider down is such good insulation; these ducks nest in the arctic and
those eggs need that extra warm down coat!)  Also, many birds molt on
their "stomachs" to reveal bare patches of skin (called "brood patches")
that are highly vascularized with blood vessels.  These patches are what
birds bring in contact with the eggs when they incubate.  Depending on
the species, the female may be the only gender that has them, or only the
male, or both male and female.  The extra feathers molted may or may not
be used to line the nest. 

Say, maybe feathers originated just to keep eggs warm without having to
bury them!

Judy Molnar
Education Associate, Virginia Living Museum
All questions are valid; all answers are tentative.

On Tue, 15 Jul 1997 18:30:36 -0400 Marty Martin
<dolfins@richmond.infi.net> writes:
>Bettyc wrote: 
>> ok-here's a thought...dinosaurs developed feathers before flight so 
>> they could have something to pull off and line nests with.
>> what do you think?.........
>Do any birds do this now (flightless or otherwise)??? I don't have
>aproblem accepting that they used molted or lost feathers, but ripping
>them out???
>                                       Marty