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RE: Little video blurb on the new Zuni theropods

And, not to put to fine a point on it, we are now at the stage in the game
where it is non-scientific to consider any maniraptoran to lack feathers.
The support for the feathered nature of therizinosaurs, oviraptorosaurs,
dromaeosaurids, and basal birds (duh) is considerably better than many
cherished aspects of dinolore, such as:
        *pack hunting in various theropods
        *predation in most theropods
        *herd behavior in sauropods
        *long-term post-nesting parental care in non-avian dinosaurs
        *sexual display in stegosaurs
and so forth.  (The support for feathered nature outside of Maniraptora
hinges on the position of _Sinosauropteryx_.  I keep on finding it very
basal in Coelurosauria in all my post-Gaia analyses, but it is not
inconcievable it could pop back up to being a basal maniraptoran).

So, yes: Jurassic Park III is unscientific in having scaly _Velociraptor_,
for example.  The days of scale-skinned dromaeosaurs and other maniraptorans
is over, or at least requires the positive discovery of an unquestionable
member of a maniraptoran group found with actual scale impressions over the
parts of the body known to be feathered in other forms.  That is not to say
that such a reversal did NOT happen (after all, there are hairless mammals):
however, it has now reached the stage in our knowledge where painting or
animating a featherless maniraptoran is precisely analagous to painting or
animating a hairless equid or creodont or macropodid, etc.<<

But dinosaurs are KNOWN to have had scales, a great majority of them.
Mammals are not (some do have scales like armadillos, but that is of a
different structure (I think), they have hair. We do not know for sure that
all Dromaeosaurs, oviraptors, etc had scales or feathers. We do know that
some had them and other theropods had scales. We can not for a minute say
without a doubt that all small theropods had feathers or feather like
structures. Now, I'm not arguing against this. I had for a long time been
against this, but now I'm sliding more and more toward this. What I am
saying is that it is still debatable.

>>All that being said, I think that it has been the shock of seeing
non-avian dinosaurs animated for the first time which has caught the
attention of the reporters to a greater degree than the stuff that Kirkland
and Wolfe (and I) were trying to hype at the press conference: a whole new
fauna, from a period of peak sea level, etc., etc.<<

Maybe because the non paleontogically inclinded aren't educated and the rest
of us don't have a big problem with them having feathers?

Tracy L. Ford
P. O. Box 1171
Poway Ca  92074