[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

If Dinosaurs Could Fly



>      The only true insulatory feathers are the degenerate ( lacking 
>derived barblets) of ratites and flightless birds. Down is not an 
>effective insulator in wet conditions. One of the main causes of infant 
>mortality in juvenile birds is when the down feathers get wet and they 
>die of hypothermia. Pretty maladaptive.

Would down be maladaptive if water-shedding flight feathers evolved first?
In that case, selection might operate to provide adults with thermal long
johns to go under the raincoat, at the expense of a few chicks.  Hard to say
a priori where that adaptive balance might lie.

  --Toby White