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Re: AW: Heterodontosaurid with protofeathers




> --- On Wed, 3/18/09, evelyn sobielski
> <koreke77@yahoo.de> wrote:
 
> > The really interesting question here - and it is one
> that
> > is likely to be swamped by a deluge of faux-feather
> > What is the use of such
> integumentary
> > structures? It is hard to see them as evolutionary
> neutral,
> > so they are likely to have conferred some benefit.
> What
> > precisely did it evolve for?

> Camouflage, among other things. In my view, camouflage is
> the best-guess for the 'original benefit'. The thing
> about camo is, it's benefits can accrue at any moment in
> the lifespan, and irregardless of climate, age, sex, or
> dietary preference. Nor is there any associated behavioral
> requirement.
> 
> Also, any odd structure that serves to change the
> silhouette or conceals the texture of edible (or dangerous)
> skin-covered muscle has immediate function, unlike the
> frequently cited insulation, which requires both extensive
> coverage and thermal effect.
> 
> Don

I believe it is also worth noting that small-to-midsize predators logically 
accrue 'camo-benefit' in two of life's critical tasks, resource acquisition and 
predator avoidance. In terms of incremental evo-scenarios, it seems logical 
that these structures would be most likely to appear in this kind of animal (as 
opposed to herbivores, which have no need to sneak up on their food).

Don