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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).