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RE: Sinosauropteryx protofeathers



Okay, I know I'm asking for a verbal spanking here, but HERE GOES:
will someone give a clear definition of "protofeather" as contrasted to
feather?
Here's what I'm fishing for: are there defined characteristics that would
identify a structure AS a protofeather (as opposed to a feather).  I know
this has been hit on before, BUT - is there some characteristic and/or
structure of
a feather that DEFINES it as a "true" feather?

Confused;
Dwight

        -----Original Message-----
        From:   Dinogeorge@aol.com [SMTP:Dinogeorge@aol.com]
        Sent:   Thursday, January 21, 1999 3:23 PM
        To:     rayancog@pacific.net.ph; dinosaur@usc.edu
        Subject:        Re: Sinosauropteryx protofeathers

        In a message dated 1/21/99 2:36:31 PM EST, rayancog@pacific.net.ph
writes:

        << I'd stick with the term "protofeather" for _Sinosauropteryx_ to
make it
         unambiguously clear for the layman that it appeared _before_ the
appearance
         of "true" feathers by _Caudipteryx_ and _Protarchaeopteryx_. >>

        Beware; this may be a grave error. The _Sinosauropteryx_
"protofeathers" could
        easily be nonflight feathers derived from an earlier volant
ancestor. Best not
        to freeze the terminology, lest you freeze your thinking into the
bargain.