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Re: AW: Heterodontosaurid with protofeathers

On 18-Mar-09, at 12:36 PM, evelyn sobielski wrote:
The really interesting question here - and it is one that is likely to be swamped by a deluge of faux-feather headlines - is: why? 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?

If they actually evolved FOR something, they should at least give us a good idea what the stimuli for it was (NOTE - I'm pretty sure this "anticipated adaptations" train of thought is not how evolution actually works). It would seem that the spine/back necessitated protection from a rear attacker, with the tail often being in prime position and very often adapted for deadly defensive maneuvers. Assuming, of course, that evolution randomly happened to give groups of sauropods, stegosaurids, nodosaurids and ankylosaurids specializations for these tasks is telling also. If the heterodontosaurid & ceratopsian structures are indeed hollow, they could be analagous to porcupine quills. They also COULD be venemous, something we'll probably never know for sure. YOU WOULD think that a group of warmer-than-usual-blooded reptiles that diversified so much over approx. 140 million years would produce at least a FEW poisonous species. Here's to hopin I finished the thought I just had.

BTW, I didn't realize yesterday was St. Patrick's Days so I'm makin up for it now.