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Re: dinosaur behaviours

>> 4) Sense of touch. Touch is an important sense in most mammals. Most
>> dinosaurs, with their scaly skins, don't seem too suited to be very
>> sensitive to tactile stimulation. But is it possible that touch may have
>> played an important factor in activities like social contact, social
>> grooming, mating rituals etc? And is it possible that many of the feathered
>> dinosaurs may have had 'whiskers' or vibrassae around their muzzles?
> Are these known in any modern-day dinosaurs?

Yes there are; most arieal-insect eating birds have bristles and
semibristles around the mouth.  Whippoor-will have only bristles around the
mouth.   Nightjars have more elaborate  bristles and semibristles around the
bill acting like cat's whiskers and as well as an insect net.   These are
truly  functional with sensory corpuscles  at their bases.  The eyelashes of
hornbills, ostriches and cuckoos are protective bristles.  Also the nostril
covers of woodpeckers and corvids.  The facial feathers of raptors tend to
be simplified to bristles, easier to clean than fully vaned feathers.
Condors, Vultures and other carrion eating birds; Maribu Storks have
scattered bristles on otherwise naked heads.  Some owls have bristles on
their feet.  Don't know for sure, but these may have a sensory function too.
The "beard" on a Wild Turkey.  And then there's the Bristle Kneed Curlew.
I have no idea why.

Bristles are simplified feathers, consisting only of a stiff, tapered shaft,
with a few basel barbs.  Semi bristles are similar but have a few side
branches.  Seems to me that dinosaurs, having evolved feathers in the first
place, would modify them to serve as many different purposes as modern birds
have.   -  Bill

Bill & Rebecca Hunt
Hunt Wildlife Studios
119 Bierstadt Ct
Livermore,  CO  80536
e-mail;  bill@huntstudios.com
Web;  http://www.huntstudios.com
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