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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?).
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:firstname.lastname@example.org