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Re: DOWNY STEGOSAURS (WAS: Re: Feathers on Bloody Everything)



Scott Hartman wrote:

<I only maintain that if you restore dinosaurs as endotherms, then to
be consistent you have to insulate them.>

  Only inasfar as mass or environment allow. Take the rhino, hippo,
and elephant. While neither are comepletely, absolutely bare of hair,
they are nearly devoid of it, and have developed this condition by
reason of their environment and/or size.

1. Is it the aquatic nature of the hippo that leads to hairlessnes, or
the hot African sun? (Benefice of a thick blubbery hide combined with
short, bristly, or sparse hair---but are we talking about some pigs,
now?)

2. Does a heavy coat better protect a rhino from marauding hyenas and
lions, or does a thick, armor-like hide? (And when the hide is that
thick, does hair then become redundant or useless?)

3. And does the baggy, "ill-fitting" skin of your local pachyderm help
it cool as its ears suggest and extirpate excessive heat, or does it
protect it from lions or tigers who would be out of their right mind
to even saunter near one of these things?

  Needless to say, there are more than one reason for loosing
integument, and many members of the Dinosauria had these reasons, if
not all three, one of part of one of those I listed above. Certainly,
though, the size comparison between a sauropod and the local allosaur
(we're in the Morrison, now) is considerably different than between a
lion and an elephant, but what of a lion and a rhino? Would a thick,
armored hide then be beneficial rather than a feathery exterior?

  Maybe we're talking Majunga or Patagonia, here....

  To say nothing of the theropod's covering, which has been done to
death, or nearly so, we now question the skin of an herbivore. When
does it become beneficial to produce armored plates, rather than a
flexible shield, spikes on the tail or fused units comprising a club?
Spiky sagittal spines or dorsal armor? Huge bony dermal knobs, or none?

==
Jaime A. Headden

Qilong, the website, at:
http://members.tripod.com/~Qilong/qilong.html
---
All comments and criticisms are welcome!

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