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



--- On Mon, 7/5/10, David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at> wrote:

> From: David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
> Subject: Re: Bird reduce their "heating bills" in cold climates
> To: "DML" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
> Date: Monday, July 5, 2010, 4:55 AM
> >  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.

________________________________________________________________

Fuzzy integument is still contentious for ornithischians (and unlikely IMO). 
Even if it turns out to be true for a few species, it seems more likely that it 
was an independent development rather than an inherent character (i.e. not 
feathers).

As for autotomy, it's not really an issue. A long tail that is used as a 
predator lure, can still work for species that lack caudal autotomy (see for 
example crocodile monitors). If the tail gets lost, it won't grow back, but it 
also would be long enough that large chunks of it could be lost without 
affecting locomotion. 

Another possibility is that Leaellynasaura might have been arboreal, and the 
tail may have been used in a semi-prehensile fashion as seen in modern day 
green iguanas.

Jason