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RE: Sinosauropteryx feathers?
> Being the way that I am.... as in putting beaks on my
> tyrannosaurs and the like (more on that for the list later), and with
> what GSP says in DA, coupled with what we are dealing with here to begin
> with, I'd smack body contour feathers on the sucker. We all know that
> birds always have numerous different types of feathers on their bodies.
> After all, using only "negative evidence" to dictate how you reconstruct
> fossil animals isn't the best course of action in my humble opinion.
Yeah, but for _Sinosauropteryx_ we have "positive evidence" that tell us
that the critter did not have contour feathers. Contour feathers are found
in modern birds, and serve to aerodynamically "shape" the body during
flight. They are more advanced than (though likely derived from) the
simpler integumental structures seen in taxa such as _Sinosauropteryx_ and
_Beipiaosaiurus_, for example. This is discussed in Jaime's post.
Don't tar all theropods with the same brush. We already know that there was
a great variety of integumental structures exhibited across the Theropoda,
and the presence of hair-like or feather-like structures in many non-avian
theropods does not necessarily imply the beginnings of flight nor the
secondary loss of flight. Each taxon should be evaluated separately -
especially in the context of its phylogenetic affinities.