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Re: AW: Heterodontosaurid with protofeathers



--Forwarded Message Attachment--
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2009 10:32:58 +1100
From: dannj@alphalink.com.au
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: AW: Heterodontosaurid with protofeathers
 
Quoting Erik Boehm :

> --- On Thu, 3/19/09, don ohmes  wrote:
> Modern birds and reptiles often have gaudy colour patterns, despite their 
> predators (other birds
and reptiles) being able to see colours.

Sorry to butt in on this line of discussion so late, but this is one of my pet 
peeves, particularly regarding palaeoart.  Most modern birds and the more 
colourful reptiles (I assume small lizards like _Agama agama_ are springing to 
mind) usually have pretty decent escape strategies from terrestrial predators 
that make camouflage less of a priority - up into the air or to a handy nearby 
crack in a rock.  Without conducting a rigorous survey, increasing 
flightlessness or size, respectively, (i.e. approaching the state of most 
non-neornithine dinos) doesn't seem to go hand-in-hand with bright, gaudy 
patterns either.
 
And a lot of flighted birds or small reptiles often _don't_ have gaudy colour 
patterns, and are pretty drab.  (One thing you notice when you flick through a 
field guide to local reptiles on an Australian trip - there's a lot of beige)
 
I would've thought increased colour vision in terrestrial members of an 
ecosystem would _increase_ the onus on camouflage, not give them some kind of 
genetic license to develop the kind of gaudy, psychadelic, even garish, colours 
and patterns in some modern palaeoart.  I've heard it said that this is needed 
to counter decades of the old, 'cold-blooded', tail-dragging image; but the 
practise seems like overzealous fancy, and makes dinosaurs seem cartoonish and 
unreal rather than more natural and relevant.
 
I don't like zebra-striped _Triceratops_, hot pink bullseyes on hadrosaurs, or 
powder-blue _Tianyulong_.  Certain splashes of colour, maybe, but I'll stick 
closer to grouse and kiwis than macaws and birds of paradise.
 
Warren Beattie.
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