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RE: Cretaceous feathers



> Quick question... can you clarify what is meant by
> "neognath-like"?

Slightly asymmetric vanes, slightly but noticeably
arched shaft, robust, usually plentiful melanin. No
Enantiornithes fossil with feather impressions found
so far has these on its tail (they have fluff and
sometimes streamers), nor do the longer-tailed birds
(Archie's tail feathers are similar though, but less
asymmetric and almost straight), nor fan-tailed
non-avian theropods like _Caudipteryx_ (straight ?and
pointed).

Next time you see a pigeon slowing to land, note the
way the tail is used. It should become rather obvious
then what I mean. (And for what little we know at
present, this function requires the short pygostyle of
modern birds and their immediate ancestors, not the
long one of other theropods, and it wouldn't work with
an Archie-type tail either).

IONO in how far it is possible to tell that a feather
came from the alula. If it is possible, that would
also constrain the possible taxa. But apart from tail
and perhaps alula feathers, one usually cannot
constrain the possible taxa very much. And everything
"fluffy" is just impossible to assign at the present
state of knowledge. (I suspect there may well be
differences e.g. in the shaft between avian down
feathers and nonavian "fuzz", but this needs more
specimens. Contrary to what the
BAND/secondary-flightless people want everybody to
believe, feather evolution was by no means a straight
single progressive lineage.)



Eike


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