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Re: Feathers as fossilized behaviour (was:Re: Function Talks at Ostrom Symposium)

I wrote:

<<If it was careless of its feathers, the water could have straitened
them out.>>

Ron Orenstien wrote:

<If that were the case there would be no need for water birds to
preen, and they do (in fact, using a waterproofing oil secretion in
some cases - getting one's feathers soggy is NOT a good idea).>

  Not precisely what I meant. I meant to refer to the straitened, neat
feathers as relating to taphonomic resetting after the animal's death,
by drowning or whatever.

<Not at all - this was merely building speculation on speculation (ie
if the teeth of Caudipteryx are feather combs, why were they lost in

  Okay, oviraptors may not have had feathers to preen, yet they (or at
least two, *Ingenia* and *Conchoraptor) have denticulate margins to
their premaxillae; who knows what shape the rhamphothecae (if any) may
have taken on _top_ of those margins. Additionally, diet may have
presumed loss of teeth, and at first this might suggest additional
loss of feathers for lack of a preening tool, but dietary habits would
have not the same pressures for loss as you proposed for
*Deinonychus*: no large prey to contend with, no large amounts of
blood and gore to clean out of one's remiges. It would seem more
likely to me, yea, more parsimonious even, that oviraptors would not
have lost their feathers, had they any particularly long remiges.
These may have been only long enough to perform the task of shading
the nest, as Hopp and Orsen, 1996, 1997, and here on the list,
suggested, and that was about the length of the forearm sans the manus
(probably around 9 in. in total).

- Often, it is the man who is brought
  down the path to the end who does
  not see his own steps. -

Jaime A. Headden

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