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Re: Subject: Bird hibernation/torpor

>       I wonder if there is anything in birds in general and ratites 
>in particular which makes them superior osmoregulators.  Their ability to
>find a refugium in the desert might be dependent on this.  

Their ability to excrete uric acid allows them to conserve water quite
efficiently - but I would hardly call the desert an avian "refugium" but an
area they have successfully invaded.

>       And then there is the question of whether feathers or hair are
>better for desert wear.    They couldn't be equally good cou;ld they?
>And to keep the flow of consciousness going...would it be better for a
>desert dino to have feathers or scales?

This is so dependent on behaviour I wouldn't care to say.  Wre they diurnal
or nocturnal, for example?  Who knows?  Modern desert animals include
birds, mammals and reptiles, so who can say what is "best"?
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          Internet: ornstn@inforamp.net