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Re: Fossil Reptiles' Feathers Debated (AP)
And all this 'fuzz' for something that we already knew at the precise moment of
at those structures.
And some people still have the nerve to go on and on. And it is not that Sues
friendly with the idea of birds as dinosaurs.. but when common sense and good
prevail, there's very little that bad politics can do.
And if they only knew the things that are still to come!
Larry Dunn wrote:
> Here's an AP story about a paleofeather controversy,
> on a day that Americans' minds turn to a different
> feathered creature.
> * * *
> Fossil Reptiles' Feathers Debated
> By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
> Filed at 6:07 p.m. ET
> Feathers or scales? Scientists analyzing a 220
> million-year-old reptile fossil can't agree on what
> they're looking at.
> Earlier this year, researchers suggested that a small,
> lizard-like reptile known as Longisquama was studded
> with long feathers that enabled it to fly, or at least
> glide. Their interpretation would push back the
> ancestry of modern birds by 75 million years.
> Now, a rival scientific team from Canada reports that
> the notion of an airborne Longisquama is too flighty.
> What appear to be feathers poking from the reptile's
> spine actually are long, thick scales that left
> cup-like impressions in surrounding rock, the
> Canadians conclude in the current issue of Nature.
> Hardly dainty, they said the body armor scales may
> have attracted mates or frightened predators.
> ``Feathers are extremely paper-thin structures, but
> these have some depth to them, a real substantial
> three dimensional nature. It's completely unlike bird
> feathers,'' said zoologist Hans-Dieter Sues of the
> University of Toronto.
> He and co-author Robert R. Reisz argue that the fine
> details do not support the feather interpretation.
> A quill-like structure is only a furrow running the
> length of the scale, he said. And, the feathery barbs
> running perpendicular to the ``quill'' really is a
> corrugated pattern on the scale.
> Feather advocates dismissed the Canadians' scale
> interpretation as ``total nonsense.''
> Oregon State paleontologist John Ruben, who
> co-authored the original Longisquama study, said the
> Canadian scientists based their conclusion on the
> worst-preserved of all the Longisquama fossils -- one
> that was clogged with petrified sediment.
> The best fossils, he said, clearly show the creature's
> long appendages possess a concave-convex structure
> consistent with the bowed appearance of modern
> And, the quill-like structure on the fossil analyzed
> by the Canadians had deteriorated and flattened out.
> Other fossils show the quill in sharp relief, he said.
> Longisquama was discovered in central Asia in 1969. It
> is thought to be an archosaur, a member of a reptile
> group that later gave rise to dinosaurs, crocodiles
> and birds.
> If Ruben's analysis is correct, it challenges the
> premise that birds arose from small, meat-eating
> dinosaurs. The earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx,
> appeared about 145 million years ago -- some 75
> million years after Longisquama.
> Alan Feduccia, an evolutionary biologist at the
> University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, believes
> the appendages on Longisquama may have been a
> transitional structure between scales and feathers.
> ``Since we know that scales and feathers are closely
> related, it makes sense that we would eventually find
> something like this,'' Feduccia said.
> "Catapultam habeo. Nisi Pecuniam omnen mihi dabis ad capul tuum saxum immane
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