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Re: Any studies on the suspected protofeathers of sinosauropteryx?

On Sat, 22 Apr 2000, Henri Rönkkö wrote:

> Dear all,
> I would be interested to know if any research has yet been done on the
> nature of the suspected protofeathers surrounding the fossilized remains
> of sinosauropteryx.

A knowledgeable insider know told me that more is indeed planned with this

> I have read that Philip Currie has demonstrated the
> hollowness of these structures, 

Pretty convincingly too, but even when faced with this evidence, Larry
Martin still believes that they are internal collagen fibers. 

> and Kevin Padian has written that doubts
> about the featherness of them can be put to rest, but I have failed to
> find anything more detailed. I would be grateful of any information
> and/or references. 

I agree with you and I also believe that Sinosauropteryx is *the* most
important specimen of all the other later-described dinosaur specimens
with preserved probable integumentary structures.  It is the most
primitive dinosaur so far found with this feature, and it is universally
agreed not to be avian (well, maybe Dinogeorge would take exception to the
heirarchy of taxonomy). If the feature can be conclusively shown to be an
externally-expressed hollow beta-keratin structure, then it "closes the
book" (or at least my book) on whether some non-avian dinosaurs had
filamentous integument. 

In my opinion, it will remain forever impossible to "prove" that this
material is "feathers", or "proto-feathers", or "para-feathers", or
whatever "*.feathers" name one wishes to give it.

On the other hand, it should be much easier to conclusively show that this
material is exactly what theorists believe "proto-feathers" would look
like.  And that degree of certainty (or uncertainty) is good enough for

I guess we just have to wait for more to get published.