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Re: Psittacosaurus bristles

HP Daniel Bensen wrote:
> Okay, the conversation on this one was stopped some time ago, but now I
> think it's time to re-examine these things.
> What the heck are the bristles and what might they mean?
That this particular Psittacosaurus specimen had bristles on it's distal
tail, nothing more, nothing less. No other specimen has this feature, at
least not that I know of, but in the time between it's initial discovery and
now, there have been three restorations of this genus (of whatever what
species found in the Liaoning) that I know of: one done by HP Marco
Auditore, HP Luis V. Rey and HP Oyvind M. Padron. In all these great
restorations, no effort was made to give a possible use for this feature,
which is easy to understand, since no structure like it has ever been found.
Although, one extant example may qualify, the porcupine. It too has spines
on it's tail, as well as on the back, but in contrary to the structures seen
in this Psittacosaurus specimen, these structures are rigid. The bristles
(which is the most logical interpretation at the moment IMHO) are crossing
each other in the specimen, giving evidence they were mobile. IF (big "if")
these structures are covered in some sort of keratin, they might have been
used in the same way as the cricket, although with a lot less controll. With
this I mean that, when this species of Psittacosaurus waved it's tail, the
individual bristles could have sheared against one another to create a noice
and with this noice, it must be possible that it served a function of
protection. Simply, if you were a hungy Sinornithosaurus, you might want to
have some Mesozoic earpluggs before taking on this guy ;)


Rutger Jansma