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Re: Ostrom Reports.

true, I see your point. but my other point about ducks using the BACK of
their head to preen means a bird will preen with a blunt instrument if
it has to.  Some use fire ants to get mites and other insects living in
the feathers.  Some use preening as a courtship ritual.   

Preening is a VERY well-developed trait in modern birds with lots of
variations on the theme.  This suggests it's very very old. Do you have
to have feathers to preen?  I think you can 'preen' with scales.  Do
modern reptiles preen?  Nope they don't do much self-maintenence at all.
Do crocs or turtles or lizards or snakes groom themselves? Not much
besides clearing vision or breathing apparatus when blocked.  Birds do
it a lot.

Which was first- preening or feathers? 


Ronald Orenstein wrote:
> Nonetheless, any structure that could act as a comb (eg the pectinate claw
> of some birds) could be used for preening, including teeth. Living
> prosimian primates, such as lemurs, have a specially-modified "tooth comb"
> consisting of the lower canines and incisors, used in part for grooming the
> fur, so preening is not an impossible role for teeth.
> In modern birds the horny edges of the ramphotheca are used to manipulate
> the feather barbs; we do not know if Caudipteryx had a similar structure or
> the necessary motor control to use it in this way, though it might have
> done so.
> I'm not going to get hung up on the point about toothless oviraptors,
> though - it is incidental to my main point that feather maintenance is
> important and requires behaviours and, sometimes, structures dedicated, at
> least in part, to that purpose, and that if feather damage cannot be
> avoided feather loss is a possible evolutionary consequence.  This should
> apply to feathered dinosaurs as well as to birds.

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