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Re: Phylogenetic bracket question

At 08:38 AM 26/02/2000 -0800, Larry Dunn wrote:
Well, I never thought I'd be asking this particular
question, but, at this point, is it at all
scientifically plausible to argue that _Deinonychus_
did not have 'feathers"?

Certainly. Even were it to be established beyond any shadow of a doubt that Deinonychus nests inside a clade with a feathered common ancestor (and by "feathered" here I mean having actual feathers, not the possible feather analogues in Sinosauropteryx) - and as some consider the oviraptorids, including Caudipteryx, to be closer to modern birds than Deinonychus is, I would say that this has not been so established - there is always the possibility that secondary feather loss occurred in the course of its evolution. As far as I can see the only way to render it absolutely scientifically implausible (as opposed to, say, merely unlikely) that Deinonychus lacked feathers would be to find a Deinonychus fossil showing that it had them.

Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2 mailto:ornstn@home.com