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Re: In (premature) defense of the USNM

philidor11 wrote:
> The 'feathery integument' on many small theropods (those not discovered with
> impressions of integument) is also conjectural.  If one alternative
> conjecture is to be permitted, why not the other?
> In fact, it's arguable that a 'naked' theropod is more consistent with the
> observed facts than a covered one.

Surely if you take it to the extreme, dinosaur movies would be full of
animated skeletons (a la Clash of the Titans)? If you're going to add
speculative muscles, skin patterns, eye colours, etc, why not go the
whole hog and stick some sort of integument on dinosaurs for which there
is some sort of phylogenetic bracketing for it?

> A recent speculation onlist concerned whether averting boredom might not be
> a cause for activity producing physical changes.  The idea was denigrated...

As it should have been. It was written so tongue-in-cheek that my mouth
still hurts.

> but social factors including behaviors are known to encourage physical
> changes and intelligence seems to be encouraged by play. Why should any
> variety of speculation, particularly one with contemporary equivalents, be
> rejected out of hand?

After my flippant posting, I realised that there are some extant birds
that swing upside down for more than just idle entertainment. Birds of
paradise (Bird-of-paradises?) will hang upside down during courtship
displays - and they use their wing and tail plumage to full effect while
doing it. Those retroverted hallices can come in handy.

Also, play behaviour is extremely important amongst social animals.
Personally, I still think that BETTER (Bored Early Theropods Tried
Entertaining Routines) is best relegated to the humor barrel (and
scraping the bottom of it, at that).


Dann Pigdon                   Australian Dinosaurs:
GIS, Archaeologist          http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj/