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Just thought I'd add my own thoughts on this exciting topic:

    WOW - Small theropods with feathers.  At first glance this would seem to
cement the dino-bird connection with crazy glue.  However, many have
discussed already some of the problems with being totally sure.  I suppose
when we find a _Tyrannosaurus_ with a ton of feathers attached, then even
the Feduccias and Martins of the world will acknowledge the connection
(maybe not though).  {Note I have nothing against Feduccia OR Martin - just
an easy example of resistance to the idea of the birds descending from

Reading Tom Hopp's notes about the use of feathers for brooding, and
protecting the nest, I was struck by a statement he off-handedly made:

>>      Furthermore, the practice must have brought some problems
>>along with it, such as stepping on your own feathers, dragging them in the
>>dirt, being blown away in a wind storm.


    Without any real evidence, what follows must of course be seen as pure

    Imagine a climatic change in some areas, where the temperature ranges
and moisture contents didn't change much from previous decades, but the
frontal systems changed their frequency.  By this I mean the cold-front to
warm-front (and vice versa) changes occurred more rapidly than before.  This
would create a situation where the climate was essentially the same, but
winds would have been more rapid, perhaps more constant (sort of like
Aruba).  Imagine that some small theropods had already evolved these strange
structures (feathers) for display, which included jumping up and away from
rival males, as well as making themselves look larger at will.  Imagine one
or more of these dinos getting caught in a sudden well-placed gust of wind,
and the resultant display and struggle for control (in the flight) producing
a new standard of excellence for the other dinos (of the same species) to
emulate to try to impress their prospective mates.  (I am suggesting that
some of the dinos that end up in the air may not necessarily land real
well - or even survive - and that others, with strong enough muscles in the
right places would have a better chance at a safe landing).  Also, a better
way to avoid larger predators.

    This little scenario makes somewhat more sense than the chasing insects
with arms/wings outstretched leading to flight; or the arboreal dinos
gliding, then learning powered flight (or as Dinogeorge calls it:
"ornithoptering" ).  I am not precluding the possibility that some arboreal
forms may have had the distinctive jumping and short-hopping that some birds
exhibit today in courtship or in tentative feeding situations, and that may
have helped them develop powered flight from the trees.

    My little scenario adds climatic pressure as a driver for evolutionary
change, something rarely mentioned in discussing dino to bird evolution.
(Yes, I know George, "Birds Came First" :-).

    As I said, this is truly speculation.  Any comments??

        Allan Edels