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Re: protofeathers

Message text written by INTERNET:dannj@alphalink.com.au
>Aren't pterosaur integumentary coverings often refered to as
"hairs"? <

        Yeah, but people also call whales "fish," though calling them that
doesn't make it so.  ;-D

>Is the terminology more strictly enforced in theropods
because they are more popular? No-one seems to give a second thought
to covering those unpopular (read "non-theropod") pterosaurs with
"hair", despite the fact that I doubt very much that pterosaurs
and mammals shared a common furred ancestor.<

        The problem with the pterosaur dermal coverings is that there _is_
no single-word term to apply to them -- I seriously doubt that they're
embryologically identical with mammalian hair, so they are not properly
termed "hair."  However, in overall appearance, they more closely resemble
"hair" than "feathers," and between those two terms for elongate, dermal
structures, and without creating a new term, one is forced to resort to
"hair" as a descriptor, even though that would lead some to believe the
pterosaur and mammal structures are homologues.  Someone needs to put a
third term in there...

>Just out of interest, what are bird eyelashes called? Are they
branched in structure or just single filaments? Are they refered
to as "feathers"?<

        They are a particular kind of feather called a bristle.  Some
bristles are single strands and resemble hair; others retain a loose bundle
of branching barbs and barbules near their bases.  For a good diagram of
different kinds of feathers, see p. 24 in:

Corral, M.  1989.  _The World of Birds:  A Layman's Guide to Ornithology_. 
Chester, CT:  The Globe Pequot Press.  ISBN (3rd Ed.) 0-87106-236-4

Similar diagrams have been reproduced elsewhere, but that's the closest one
I've got at hand at the moment.

           ____/_\,)                    ..  _   
--____-===(  _\/                         \\/ \-----_---__
           /\  '                        ^__/>/\____\--------
__________/__\_ ____________________________.//__.//_________

                     Jerry D. Harris
                 Fossil Preparation Lab
          New Mexico Museum of Natural History
                   1801 Mountain Rd NW
               Albuquerque  NM  87104-1375
                 Phone:  (505) 899-2809
                  Fax: ; (505) 841-2866