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Re: Feather evolution



On Wed, 16 Jul 1997 22:41:01 -0400 Marty Martin
<dolfins@richmond.infi.net> writes:
>I know this is a stretch, but is it possible that if dinosaurs used
their feathers as a means to 
>increase the chances of their young's survival by both serving as a
>"softening the landing mechanism" during egg laying as was discussed
>before or simply as a means to better incubate their eggs that this
>could have possible helpto select for those dinosaurs that had 
>feathers
>over those that had not. I know that this is really pushing it.
>Dinosaurs who used feathers for cushioning during egg laying were
>probably too big to ever have any use for feathers in flight, however 
>it
>seems to me that perhaps using feathers as incubating accesories would
>promote survival of young from the egg phase which would increase the
>frequency of that genotype being passed on.
>       Remember, this is just a "maybe." Anyone have any ideas??

The only problem with the idea is that feathers are "expensive" devices
to develop just for the egg laying stage.  It makes more sense that
something like a feather would be more important as an insulator for all
of one's life cycle, not just for the egg laying stage.  Otherwise,
feathers would be grown seasonally for just the egg laying uses, and
wouldn't hang around long enough to be adaptive for other things like
flight.  It makes more sense for feathers to evolve for flight or body
insulation first, which are handy _all_ the time, then be used during the
egg stage for the nest.

Judy Molnar
Education Associate, Virginia Living Museum
vlmed@juno.com
jamolnar@juno.com
All questions are valid; all answers are tentative.