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Re: Bird reduce their "heating bills" in cold climates

 Neat. I wonder if the tail was used to lure predators away, and/or
 establish a dominance hierarchy as in many lizard species.

The tail? To lure predators away? That would have required autotomy, which is not an option -- or very long stage I feathers, which are an option.

 I also remember a theropod, I think it was _Alvarezsaurus_ that also
 had an extremely long tail.

*Alvarezsaurus* was originally thought, on the basis of the few preserved caudals, to have a tail twice the length of the rest of the body. This was a misinterpretation based on usual theropod tails; alvarezsaurid tails were otherwise unknown.