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Re: Bakker comment
Bob wasn't speaking out of his behind on this one. There are a couple
of papers published on the imprint, which was discovered by the Reverend
Hitchcock (long before he made Psycho...). I believe there have been three
papers published on the issue of integuement preservation, the only one
published in North America was in the COntinental Jurassic volume from 1996.
They actually mis-interpretted the sitting posture of the animal, which
was almost certainly a theropod (I've heard Bob Bakker say it was made by an
ornithopod, but I can't force an ornithopod into the required pose to save
my biomechanical butt). I discussed this with the authors, and there may be
a paper forthcoming on it, but for the artists out there, the animal is
sitting on its pubis, and the large anterior "feather" impression appears to
have been made by the stomach and chest region.
But are they feathers? If they are, this extends the temporal, size,
and (probably) phylogenetic range of dino-fuzz substantially. Because of
the wieghty implications, the assertation has deservedly been met with some
skepticism. Still, the authors have performed empirical tests on resting
animals with scales, as well as branches dragged through mud, and shown them
to be less consistent with the impression than those left behind by large
And to second Cliff, they look a heck of a lot life feather imprints.
To my knowledge no one has published a rebuttal to their investigations, but
if anyone is interested in a non-supportive opinion, button-hole Jim Farlow
at the next SVP, I think he's still skeptical.
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