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Re: Meet Protopteryx: two Yixian maniraptorans in one week!

>(iv) appearance of barbules and barbicel >>
>Isn't it funny that in the recent "refutation" of Longisumata (sic) that
>what's described in (i) above was laughed off has having nothing whatsoever
>to do with the evolution of feathers!

This was for two very good reasons:

1.  The authors of the first Longisquama paper for this year argued that
these were, in fact, primitive feathers.  Nearly everyone else who's looked
at the specimens agree that the similarities between feathers and these
structures on Longisquama are exaggerated.

2.  Longisquama has nothing whatsoever to do with the origin of birds, on
phylogenetic grounds.  Whether or not these structures had an aerodynamic
purpose (something I doubt), on phylogenetic grounds it is difficult to
regard Longisquama's long scales as relevant to the origin of feathers.  In
short, elongated scales may be involved in the origin of feathers
(something not universally accepted), but only if they occur in animals
whose descendents had feathers.


Christopher A. Brochu
Department of Geology
Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

phone 312-665-7633
fax 312-665-7641
electronic cbrochu@fmppr.fmnh.org