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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 birds.
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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