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Re: Sinosauropteryx tail colors



On Thu, Jan 28th, 2010 at 3:25 PM, "T. Michael Keesey" <keesey@gmail.com> wrote:

>What purpose do ringed tails serve in
> extant animals that have them? (Do we even know? I seriously have no idea.)

Ring-tailed lemurs don't seem to do anything with their tails that other lemur 
species don't (balance 
and display probably being the main uses). Perhaps it doesn't matter what 
colour or patterns are 
present on a tail used as a display device - just as long as it's distinct 
enough from those of other 
related species. Ring patterns are as good as any it seems.

The ringed patterns on the tail Sinosauropteryx may have helped to break up 
it's outline - 
especially if they rested in undergrowth with their tails wrapped around 
themselves (as much as a 
theropod tail *could* wrap that is). Red pandas have very similar colouration 
to that ascribed to 
Sinosauropteryx. They wrap their bushy tails around themselves to keep warm 
while they sleep, 
and perhaps the ringed pattern on their tail also confers such a camoflaging 
effect.

-- 
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Dann Pigdon
GIS Specialist                         Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj
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