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Tail fans



On Fri, 5 Mar 1999, Ronald Orenstein wrote:

> Further, it does not explain the one definitely feathered feature
> found in both non-avian fossils with pinnate feathers: the tail fan of
> Caudipteryx and Protarchaeopteryx, an unlikely brooding structure but, in
> my view, a quite reasonable display ornament.

I think a good tail fan is what is missing from feathered dromaeosaur
reconstructions.  _Caudipteryx_ has one, _Protarchaeopteryx_ has one,
Archie has one (and _Jurapteryx_, which I still bet is actually a
different taxon--the arms and back are shorter, the tail and legs are
longer, the skull is bigger, and the pattern of feathers on the tail is
different from in _Archaeopteryx_.  Are such dramatic proportional changes
common in modern birds AFTER they are fledged?).

I'd imagine the pattern of feathers on a dromaeo tail was probably like
that of _Jurapteryx_, another long-tailed eumaniraptoran:  shortish
feathers, the same length along the entire length of the tail, therefore
forming more of a "ribbon" pattern than a "fan."

My 2 cents.  Paleo-artists, go to town.

-Nick P.