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Re: Integument. . . extant vx extinct



My reasoning / comparison was intended to be more be along the lines of the following. . .

Examples of cosmopolitan crustaceans exhibit "tufting" ( as you have noted ) are commonplace, whereas this newly described form takes that adaptation to an extreme. . . likewise the relationship between birds and terrestrial dinosaurs although recognized historically in theory for an extended period of time. . . has been greatly elevated through confirmation of feathery fossil integument and our appreciation of that very fact.

It's far from a perfect analogy, but my comment was directed more to the scope of diversity within organisms and how that effects and impacts our processing of fossil taxa and concurrent data, than a direct correlation between crabs and dinosaur feathers. My statement goes more to the point of discovery, and if in our modern world we are able to uncover extant species that are such marvels, I wonder what future awaits us in terms of new fossil material and methods of analysis yet to be developed.

If a lowly invertebrate in subterranean gloom finds it necessary to evolve an exaggerated "plumage" evocative of costuming in burlesque dancers, how immense is the iceberg of untapped information that relates to the diversity and derived adaptations among lineages that dominated this planet over a time span we can barely conceive, and of which our representative sample size is realistically only the smallest of visible fragments exposed at the surface ( iceberg analogy again). As our level of understanding grows, what's the "next big thing"? In context, will feathers on dinosaurs be eclipsed by revelations over time through continued research and advances in technology and related disciplines that will move our thinking and understanding of dinosaurs to new and unexpected levels of insight? . . . and what will that look like? I think it's comforting from a temporal perspective to be "in the moment" and at the forefront in current understanding ( of dinosaurs) as we know it. The "facts" in paleontology of a mere century ago dictated such things as "sauropods in excess of the largest then known, 60-80 feet in length were incapable of independent terrestrial locomotion, outside of being bouyantly supported by a body of water" which to their credit was based on the best information and understanding of the time, however the "state of the art" has undergone dramatic changes in the interim. At the SVP meeting of 2106 ( likely to be held in a "Best Western Satellite" space station hotel and intergalactic convention center ), I would be fascinated to hear the conclusion to the following remark, " Remember back in 2006 when they actually believed. . ."

On an almost completely unrelated tangent and in recognition of the power of visual imagery, I think what struck me most about the photo of the crab was the similarity in form of it's "hair" to "feathers", which lead to "protofeathers", etc. . . not to imply in any way that crustaceans, molluscs or their primitive predecessors might be one step away from powered flight ;0). . . however don't be alarmed if my next thread title reads, "Fuzzy Foraminifera. . . Fact or Fiction!"


MIke S.





In all fairness, hair seems to be widespread among crustaceans. Just from my dining experiences, I can recall the tail fins of lobsters are lined with hair, and I think king crabs have tufts on their claws. So this new galatheoid is more like a mammoth being found when only modern elephants were known, as opposed to finding fully feathered dinosaurs when all you know are ones with crocodilian-like integument.

Mickey Mortimer