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Re: Thoughts about the arboreal dinosaur



At 04:29 PM 28/06/2000 -0400, Grant Harding wrote:
First of all, when I was looking through a bird identification guide the other day, I learned that nightjars and hummingbirds have an elongated middle toe with a curved claw called a "feather-comb", used for grooming.

Technically this is called a pectinated claw, referring to the serrated edge; it is best developed in herons, though it is also found in pratincoles.


I'm also guessing that aye-ayes probably use their elongated finger partly for combing their fur (in addition to finding and digging out insects).

According to Walker's Mammals of the World (6th ed), an aye-aye will occasionally use "its long third finger in combing, scratching, and cleansing; the other fingers are flexed during this performance".


This made me wonder: could the long finger on the new dinosaur indicate the presence of some kind of feathery or dinofuzzy integument? (Assuming that none was preserved, of course; once again, I haven't seen the specimen.)

Considering that the finger may have served more than one purpose, I would not call this conclusive - though I have suggested before on this list that the presence of feathers pretty much implies that some sort of grooming behaviour must have existed, and some fossils might show structures (eg combs on claws or teeth) that could be indicators of feathers or protofeathers (for example, how about the very fine teeth on some pterosaurs like Ctenochasma?).


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Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
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