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Re: Follow-up: the truth about killer dinosaurs

On 8/31/05, David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at> wrote:
> Why does almost everyone who draws beakless feathered dinosaurs let the
> feathers stop at the lacrimal? <rant>


It seems to me like Greg Paul made an educated guess back in the '80s.
While his work of that time turned out to be prescient in many ways,
this assumption turned out to be a bit off, at least in the case of
"Dave" the _Sinornithosaurus_ (one of the few non-beaked specimens
well-preserved enough to tell us what was going on there). But still,
because his work is so influential, the convention of feathers
stopping at the lachrymal appears in a lot of work.

To be fair, it might be right in at least some species--we only have a
single juvenile specimen, "Dave", to tell us otherwise. Not a great
sample size! Nonetheless, I agree--the default assumption for unbeaked
coelurosaurs should be more like what we see in "Dave": feathers going
almost, but not quite, to the mouth. I've done this in my own
_Archaeopteryx_ and _Microraptor_:

The reality might be that this varied quite a bit--maybe someday we'll
know better....

--Mike Keesey