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Re: More evidence of dinosaur colors

"Flushing" behaviour is known for a number of birds, including fantails 
(Rhipiduridae), some monarchs (Arses kaupi, for example) and parulid 
"redstarts" (Setophaga and Myioborus), though not to my knowledge for wagtails. 
All these birds are small arboreal passerines. Though of course we cannot say 
what Anchiornis did, I think that birds like the sunbittern and kagu 
(Rhynochetos), which use strongly-barre
d wings for display, seem more likely analogues. 

Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 7, 2010, at 1:04 AM, Tim Williams <tijawi@yahoo.com> wrote:

Guy Leahy wrote:

Oh, this is *so* cool:


Unlike the Nature article, this article offers some very interesting ideas for 
possible behaviors that could use feather coloration:

"Alternatively, bold plumage color patterns can function in
interspecific threat and defense postures (e.g., some owls or
sunbittern, _Eurypygia helias_), in startling predators or
warning conspecifics within a flock (15), or in startling
invertebrate prey which are seized as they attempt to flee
(e.g., North American _Setophaga redstarts_, Neotropical
_Myioborus_ whitestarts, and Australian _Rhipidura wagtai_
(16, 17)."

This last point (startling small prey) reminds me of an idea I had a few years 
back regarding the short wings of _Caudipteryx_.  I wrote:

"Basal oviraptorosaurs (_Caudipteryx_, _Protarchaeopteryx_, _Incisivosaurus_) 
also have procumbent teeth. These critters might have included arthropod prey 
in their diet. One idea of mine (completely untestable, and so not worth a jot) 
is that these theropods used their wings and feathered tails to flush insects 
out of small trees into the open, like some birds do today (wagtails, etc)."


At the time, the idea of reconstructing the colors of plumage in fossil 
theropods seemed like science fiction.  But now... maybe the idea is not 
*untestable* any more.  The 'wagtail' hypothesis is certainly not as wacky as 
it sounded back then.



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