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Re: In (premature) defense of the USNM



> <If you draw a dinosaur with naked skin, I would say you are putting forth
> the hypothesis that the animal had naked skin, which, for the taxa under
> discussion, is less parsimonious than the hypothesis that they had fuzzy
or
> feathery skin.>
>
> Good point, Nick (as is your pointing out that I should have said
> 'integumentary structures').
> The refusal to consider a hypothesis because it is too speculative might
in
> this case be considered the same as contradicting the hypothesis.  The
> opposing point is that unless the artist does something directly against
the
> sort-of feathers hypothesis, such as putting stripes on the skin, then the
> issue may still be considered open.
> Take another example:  an artist reconstructing a face from a skull
> discovered by the police completes the project except for the hair.  If
the
> artist does not put on hair, is the artist asserting the individual was
> bald?  I'd say no, that the artist might be concerned about lessening the
> chance of a good identification if the hair were incorrect.

MS*  The point however is, that the "weight" of evidence is shifting to
support
small feathered theropods in general.  In your example, it still would be
prudent for the artist reconstructing from a human skull to put hair on the
model,
because the majority of humans have hair and the likeness will therefore be
closer "with" hair than "without" inspite of color, length, etc... Until
further
information is brought to light to confirm the absence of hair in the
particular
individual being depicted, the rule of thumb should be to go with the most
commonly accepted traits.  In terms of small theropods, since feathers can
be inferred across the board through phylogenetic bracketing, that should be
the new standard to adhere to, with unfeathered models reserved for specific
occasions wherein particular specimens display unambiguous evidence of an
unfeathered condition. In other words "Go with the flow!"

Mike Skrepnick