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Re: Psittacosaurid hair!



Tim,
I wrote this earlier, but had not sent it yet. By artifice, I assume it is fakery that is being implied with regard to this fossil. I'm not a trained paleontologist, so I guess perhaps I would be easily fooled. Whether it is a fake or not, I still believe that protofeathers originating on the tail is a viable hypothesis.
-------Ken
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I too would like to thank Michael for the pictures. They almost take your breath away. Stunning.
But can we assume that the rest of the body was bare of these structures? Perhaps the tail was deeper in (anoxic?) mud and the rest washed away if the skin decomposed faster. If the darker areas are skin, it remained only on the tail and parts of the body.
If only the tail was "proto-feathered", that would be great, since that's where I think protofeathers probably first developed for predator evasion (or display?). If ornithischians had these structures on the abdomen as well, it would indicate that the exaptation for brooding had probably evolved at that stage.
------Ken
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From: Waylon Rowley <whte_rbt_obj@yahoo.com>
Reply-To: whte_rbt_obj@yahoo.com
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Psittacosaurid hair!
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 16:02:17 -0700 (PDT)


Well folks, ornithischian "hair" seems to be a reality. HP Michael Schmidt was kind enough to send me several nice photos of the integuments on a Psittacosaurus (?sp). The first word that came to mind was "porcupine." Whether or not the structures actually represent quill-like objects, they do seem to be thicker than I would imagine. I'm reluctant to presume all ornithodirans, or ornithischians, have this feature. I'm curious as to why this animal evolved the "hair" only on the dorsal surface of the tail, the rest of the body seemingly bare. Hopefully someone that has viewed other non-avian integumentary structures could comment on this specimen....

Cheers,

Waylon Rowley

"A _Psittacosaurus_ with hair?"
"Yup."

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