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RE: Sinosauropteryx protofeathers
Hopefully, many new and *different* non-avialian theropod genera will be
dug up in China that also display some type of fibrous integument.
Gee....if we SEM'ed "matted fiber bundles" on many different
non-avialian taxa, then we could build a character matrix of
fiber-morphologies and do a ...<cough>... cladistic analysis. That
might be a good tool for predicting the ancestral "protofeather"
condition. Now all we need is another 10 or so taxa that have
Or maybe a mathematician who is versed in fractal geometry could do a
"reverse fractal" computer analysis of modern feathers, and see what the
starting structure(s) turn out to be. Maybe it's already been done...
(but then, who reads mathematics journals anyway?)
Just shootin' from the hip with unbridled speculation,
"It's too bad that SEM machines cost so much, or I would already have
one in my garage. Darn handy things to have around the house, I would
imagine." (spoken to myself last summer while in a heat-stroke stupor
in the middle of Montana).