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Re: Dino-feather tyranny, grrr



While it is impossible to prove that all maniraptoran theropods had feathers,
it is looking more and more likely from the many Liaoning theropod species
that all maniraptorans sported feathers, unless the feature was _completely_
lost secondarily.  It may be of interest that Nicholas Longrich is presenting
a talk, "Systematics of Sinosauropteryx," at the SVP meeting that proposes
that _Sinosauropteryx_ was "an allosaur-grade theropod... perhaps allosaurid
or baslmost Coelurosauria."  The abstract goes on to point out that the more
basal _Carnotaurus_ and _Ceratosaurus_ bore scales, but that, given the
anatomical traits _Sinosauropteryx_ shares with allosaurids, the latter "were
likely feathered."  Phylogenetic bracketing would certainly support feathered
maniraptorans.

 As there is no evidence for featherless maniraptorans, what is the point of
portraying them as such?  Was there a compelling need for feather loss in
maniraptoran theropods?  Aside from the genetically engineered featherless
rooster of late, I know of no featherless birds.  To throw in a mammalian
analogy, even "naked" mammals like us have _some_ hair.

----------Ralph W. Miller III
               ralph.miller@alumni.usc.edu

"Grrr... Ah pity da fool."