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Re: feathers as N2 excretors

Tom, et al:

    First off, you are obviously assuming that I (and others) suggested that
feathers were evolved to remove certain toxins from the body, and no other
process was needed for that toxin to be removed.  Au contraire, I feel that
feathers were an additional means to remove said toxins, perhaps similar to
the way that some minor toxins are _sweated_ out of mammals, even though
mammals can excrete the same toxins (and more) via urea and feces.  (Of
course, let us not forget regurgitation[vomiting to the uninformed]).  In
addition, feathers' use as insulation, and as cooling mechanisms should not
be overlooked, used in conjunction with the excretion of toxins.

    As to your suggestion of pigeon/statue relationships being explained by
"Scatopteryx (TM) theory" has one particular flaw - where are the statues?
Are you suggesting that the larger dinosaurs were so slow moving that you
might mistake them for statues???   :-))

    An aside concerning traces of chemicals, toxins, etc. in hair:  Not only
can arsenic be found in hair samples, but so can several other heavy metals,
and several drugs, such as cocaine, and marijuana.  A company was marketing
a test for pot and cocaine - you needed to send them about 2 inch by .5 inch
clump of hair for testing.  (Parents of teenagers were the obvious target
for their ads).  They claimed 92 percent accuracy [I think it was later
determined to have 78 percent accuracy - which may be why you don't hear of
them anymore].

        Allan Edels

-----Original Message-----
From: TomHopp@aol.com <TomHopp@aol.com>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Date: Sunday, October 18, 1998 2:32 PM
Subject: Re: feathers as N2 excretors

>In a message dated 10/18/98 9:35:43 AM, Martin at cockatoo@csi.com wrote:
><<Further to the suggestion that feathers are actually a pathway for the
>excretion of Nitrogen products, does this imply that fur, hair, nails,
>etc are for the same purpose? Was this considered by the proponents of this
>idea, anyone?
>    Should we then consider that all manifestations of specialization may
>mere secondary adaptations of the need to eliminate waste products, so that
>shells on eggs are a means of ridding the body of excess calcium or other
>chemicals, as are losing milk teeth, leaving your teeth in carcasses,
>developing pupae cases, spinning webs, producing slime, growing shells, to
>name but a few potential candidates?
>    But then I have to remember that arsenic, if ingested,  can be found in
>hair and nails. Hmmm>>
>    Martin, your thoughts are refreshing. This excretion bugaboo is a
>recurrent theme on this list that I always yuk over (was that mirth or
>distaste, you ask -- both, I answer). The proponents of N, S, etc secretion
>feathers and hair seem to have overlooked something -- THE KIDNEYS. These
>rather substantial organs not only exist for a real purpose (guess what --
>SECRETION) but as is taught in Physiology 404, they are damn good at it. It
>has been a long time since I studied this vast subject at Cornell Medical
>College (they had a whole Renal Physiology Division when I was there), but
>seem to recall that the intensely active kidneys filter your entire blood
>volume once every - let's see - two minutes? Three? Something like that.
>do so without losing substantial water, and routinely get rid of vast
>quantities of C, N, S, X, Y and Z. This goes on constantly and quickly. No
>need to wait for a hair or a feather to grow.
>    Regarding arsenic, a toxic analog of phosphate, I am sure that if it
>doesn't kill you, it will filter out in the urine to an extent of about
>99.9999%, and the trace left in your hair, detectable by the coroner if you
>don't make it, is nothing but a minor residue.
>    Regarding bird evolution, I have just had a major breakthrough
>while writing this note. Perhaps protobirds first climbed trees in order to
>fffft -- and watch with mirth as secreted C, N, S, X, Y, and Z spattered on
>their larger, earthbound cousins. Then, as ground-based dinos got bigger
>bigger, and could no longer be dumped upon with impunity, the protobirds
>realized that without feathers they were doomed, so they decided to evolve
>these useful airfoils as a means to soar over and dive bomb their enemies.
>    This new theory, which I shall call the scatopteryx theory, is
>parsimonious in that it provides an easy explanation of the origin of
>pigeon/statue relationships.
>    Tom Hopp  -- Copyright 1998, all rights and royalties reserved