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Re: "Feathery fossil shows birds aren't dinosaurs"



  Hi, All!
    Vulture (and other) feathers can indeed stand some pretty harsh abuse
from time to time. They are designed to zip back together with a minimum of
fuss. They are also redundant: if one or two (or several) are broken, worn,
or even fall out, the vulture still functions. A lot of what was seen in
this documentary simply had to do with "greater vs. lesser risk". The most
immaculate feathers in the world will do no good to a vulture which has
starved to death.
    Just my $.02
            B.

----- Original Message -----
From: Rob Gay <rob_redwing@hotmail.com>
To: <MKIRKALDY@aol.com>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2000 2:48 PM
Subject: Re: "Feathery fossil shows birds aren't dinosaurs"


>
> And on feathers and dinosaurs, the other day, there was some discusion
about
> early birds not wanting to potentialy damage their primary flight feathers
> by climbing. Well, I was watching Animal Planet the other day on TV, and
> there was a special about big cats. At the point that I tuned in, the
> vultures were just moving in on the carcass. What interested me, though,
was
> that these birds, leaping and biting on the carcass, seemed not too
> concerned with their feathers. In some cases, vultures were actually
> standing on vultures, and biting at each other. I think (Key words, "I
> think") that if modern birds subject their flight feathers to this type of
> harsh abuse, then I do not think (Once again, my personal opinion) that it
> would be unreasonable for an early bird to climb trees with its forelimbs.
> Peace,
> Rob
>
> >From: MKIRKALDY@aol.com
> >Reply-To: MKIRKALDY@aol.com
> >To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
> >Subject: "Feathery fossil shows birds aren't dinosaurs"
> >Date: Thu Jun 22 16:55:57 2000
> >
> >This week's Science issue is not yet on-line, but here is the Reuters
take
> >on _Longisquama insignis_.
> >
> >Mary
> >mkirkaldy@aol.com
> >_____
> >
> >Feathery fossil shows birds aren't dinosaurs-report
> >
> >Reuters
> >Jun 22 2000 3:34PM ET
> >
> >WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The ancient fossil of a little tree-climbing
reptile
> >has a frill of feathers that casts doubt on theories that modern-day
birds
> >evolved from dinosaurs, scientists said Thursday.
> >
> >The 220 million-year-old fossil is 75 million years older than the oldest
> >known bird, Archeopteryx, the researchers report in the latest issue of
the
> >journal Science.
> >
> >It has what clearly are feathers that almost certainly were used to
glide,
> >which means dinosaurs are not the direct ancestors of birds, Alan
Feduccia
> >of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, who worked on the
> >study, said.
> >
> >``It is upsetting,'' Feduccia said in a telephone interview.
> >
> >``The idea that one can study dinosaurs at the backyard feeder is a
> >delusional fantasy, but a lot of our fantasies are just that. It's one of
> >those terrible facts of life.''
> >
> >Terry Jones of Oregon State University, who led the study, said the
fossil,
> >named Longisquama insignis, is an archosaur, a reptilian genus that gave
> >rise to dinosaurs, reptiles and birds. But Longisquama lived side-by-side
> >with dinosaurs in the Triassic period.
> >
> >``We can identify certain structures in these fossils that you only find
in
> >feathers and just don't see anywhere else. We're quite sure we're looking
> >at the earliest feather,'' Jones said in a telephone interview.
> >
> >``You could easily see that there was this midline spine, which sort of
> >told us. But more important, what we saw at the base of the feather was
> >these structures tapered down to a sort of rounded point,'' he added.
> >
> >``That tapered, rounded point tells us that thing grew within a follicle.
> >Hair and feathers both grow within follicles but scales do not.''
> >
> >The skeleton also looks much like a bird, although the creature probably
> >looked like a lizard, scrambling about in trees. ``The head is birdlike.
> >The neck is birdlike,'' Jones said.
> >
> >The frill, made up of 6 to 8 pairs of feathers, acted to help it glide,
he
> >said. And it has a wishbone, a shoulder structure seen in birds. ``It may
> >have been able to use its arms as a steering apparatus,'' Jones said.
> >
> >Feduccia compared it to the small flying ``dragons'', of the genus Draco,
> >found in parts of Southeast Asia, which can expand their ribcages to form
> >glider-like wings.
> >
> >``I think this thing must have been just like one of these little
dragons,
> >gliding around, zipping around from tree to tree,'' he said. ``We imagine
> >it being a pretty adept glider.''
> >
> >The fossil was found more than three decades ago in central Asia by a
> >Russian paleontologist specializing in insects.
> >
> >``It had been rumored ... that it may have something to do with the
origin
> >and evolution of feathers and maybe even about the origin of birds, but
for
> >most part people pooh-poohed it,'' Jones said in a telephone interview.
> >
> >When he learned it was coming to the United States as part of an exhibit,
> >he said, ``I jumped all over it.''
> >
> >Larry Martin of the University of Kansas said the Russian paleontologist
> >thought the preserved imprints showed long scales, not feathers.
> >
> >But had that been the case, ``the slightest breeze would have toppled the
> >animal over,'' Martin said in a statement.
> >
> >Jones said the fossil languished for years in Moscow. ``Even after (the
> >fall of communism) a lot of people in paleontology thought they had it
> >figured out where feathers came from and where birds came from so there
was
> >no point in going to look at the thing,'' he said.
> >
> >``These are some amazing fossils, and at the very least they prove that
> >feathers did not evolve in dinosaurs,'' John Ruben, an Oregon State
> >University professor of zoology, said in a statement. ``The supposed link
> >between dinosaurs and birds is pretty entrenched in paleontology, but
it's
> >not as solid as the public has been led to believe.''
> >
> >RTR/SCIENCE-BIRDS/
> >Copyright
> >
>
> ________________________________________________________________________
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>
>

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