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Re: protofeathers

In a message dated 6/2/99 7:10:39 AM EST, brush@uconnvm.uconn.edu writes:

<< I consider the term protofeather to apply to all morphological feather 
types. This includes contour. all stages of down, bristles, filoplumes, etc 
as they are all made from exactly the same type of follicle and consist of 
the same proteins. It makes no sense to try to distinguish among feather 
generations (on a single birds) or different morphologies, as they probably 
differ only in the information that directs their construction. It is futile 
to use feather generation morphology to try to establish relationships, as 
once the potential to produce feathers is established, the potential to 
produce all types of feathers follows automatically. >>

This definition quite clearly and in no uncertain terms renders the term 
"protofeathers" an exact synonym of "feathers" (>all morphological feather 
types<). There is simply no meaningful distinction between the two, according 
to the above. The prefix "proto-" implies a precursor concept, and if there 
is no such thing as a feather precursor, there is indeed no point in using 
the prefix. Meanwhile, inasmuch as the dermal structures observed in 
Sinosauropteryx and its relatives haven't yet been demonstrated to be 
feathers (though in truth I cannot imagine what else they might be; some sort 
of evolutionary novelty that appeared only in small theropods just to confuse 
everyone?), I use the more ambiguous term "dinofuzz" for them.