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Re: Origin of feathers
Are you familiar with the "behaviors evolve first" hypothesis? This is a
principle most zoologist still use. It suggests before any morphological
change will occur, the behaviors will evolve first. This is part of the
informational origin of feathers hypothesis. The behaviors were already
present BEFORE the spontaneous mutation(s) that brought about the
Think of water fowl, like ducks. There ancestors probably did not get
webbed feet first and then adapted to life in the water. It was probably
the other way around. They were feeding and living exclusively in
aquatic habitats. Then, natural selection took it course.
The assumption, George, is that there were already "displays" before
feathers. Like songbirds. Sexual displays existed before they added
another feature (another layer) to their courtship: the song. The
selection mechanisms were in place. Then, the protofeathers were
incorporated into the whole shebang.
As I've said before, pre-feathers cannot have >originated< as display
structures. Display had to evolve >after< the pre-feathers appeared,
even if it was "just after." Before the initial appearance of
pre-feathers, there were no pre-feathers, and no way for natural
selection to operate on them in any way.