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Re: Dino down

Ralph Miller wrote:

>One thing that we must recognize is that whatever the preserved
>_Sinosauropteryx prima_ fibers are, they are apparently not comparable to
>down feathers as we know them today.  The description of the fibers in the
>January 8 _Nature_ article on _Sinosauropteryx_ does concur with Philip
>Currie in characterizing the fibers as being apparently hollow, and seems
>to accept his interpretation that there is an apparent branching aspect in
>some of the preserved fibers.
>But the authors of the _Nature_ paper also point out that the fibers are
>considerably thicker than the fur fibers of comparably sized mammals, so in
>this important respect, the fibers are anything but downy and, and "may"
>have >performed more like the coarse fiber of a large mammal.

I very much agree with this statement. There should have been many kinds of
protofeathery integument and perhaps Sinosauropteryx' was of a more basal
theropodian quality.
The question would be to analize other kinds of integument traces that are
not classical feathers (like Protarchaeopteryx, Archaeopteryx or
Confuciousornis) but more like Shuuvuia or Mononykus or, going to a more
extreme source, the resting 'Dilophosaurus' ichnites specimen (documented
in Allen Debus' "Dinosaur World") that demonstrates that a medium size
early Jurassic theropod apparently was fully covered is dawn ... but what
sort of dawn? What sort of feathers or quills or hairlike structures can be
deducted from the traces? Where they soft or coarse?
Orginally this ichnites were taken for 'marsupial' (until recognized as
dinosaurian... rather odd there would be big marsupials in the early
so they must resemble the imprints of hair.
I'm hoping for a more extensive research and description of this specimen.

Luis Rey

Visit my website on http://www.ndirect.co.uk/~luisrey