--Original Message--From: Alan
Brush Date: 06 October 1998 22:34I can't help
thinking than any epidermal structure that consists of the feather (phi)
type keratin, and is produced in a follicle, is a feather.
Developmentally and chemically, "Sinopelt" will have been
just another form of feather, agreed. However the structural
difference between that, and any feather that has been used (maybe by
ancestors) for flying is surely highly significant, and so far, easily
distinguished. Some types of feather, eg bristle, down, etc do not
show the aerodynamic pattern of course, but no bird lacks some feathers
which show it unmistakeably, even after 60 million years, or however long
ratites have been flightless for.