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Re: Moasaurus

Ronald Orenstein wrote:

At 11:03 PM 13/02/01 +0000, Zoe Heraklides wrote:
OK, I've taken a look around me. I see a kiwi bird. It has long, hairlike structures coming out of its skin. Are these feathers? They look very different to the feathers of a duck or chicken.

What makes a feather a "feather" is probably a bit uncertain these days! However, external appearance has little or nothing to do with it. For example, a bird's eyelashes are feathers. So are such special display features as the plumes on the head of a King of Saxony Bird of Paradise, which look as though they are made of plastic. Either of these looks less like a "typical" chicken feather than does the contour feather of a kiwi. However, I know of no structure on any living bird that is ambiguous, in that some authorities think they are feathers but others disagree.

Yes. And according to my Life Nature Library book The Birds (1978 edition) by bird photographer Roger Tory Peterson, there are four types of feathers: contour feathers that cover most of the body, down feathers that predominate in chicks, the hairlike filoplumes that often serve as sensory organs like mammalian whiskers, and the flight feathers with the stiff quills needed to support the stress of flight.

Raymond Thaddeus C. Ancog
Mines and Geosciences Bureau