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Re: Another feather theory
One hypothesized route to flight:
1) Origin of fuzz (small stuff) for display, insulation, etc., NOT for
protection --> 2) Evolutionary lengthening and stiffening of the fuzz into long
feathers, in order to give a predator more stuff to bite off. --> 3) Later,
evolutionary tweaking of the long feathers for gliding/powered flight.
Feathers are perfect for defensive protection because:
- They are not living tissue.
- They are light weight (little energy needed
to carry them around).
- They are easily removed (less painful or debilitating).
- They are automatically replaced.
- They can grow big enough to fool a predator into thinking that it has a
mouthful of prey.
So, it is possible that feathers didn't originate for defensive protection, but
they may have later evolved along that route as an intermediate step on the
road that eventually led to powered flight.
---------- Original Message ----------
From: David Marjanovic <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: DML <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Another feather theory
Date: Mon, 24 May 2010 10:26:22 +0200
> When foxes and dogs try to catch chickens they get a mouth (or paw)
> full of feathers. So, the feathers make for a fluffy target and aid
> in the feathered one's escape.
> I could see that might be an aid smaller birds but possibly not
> larger ones.
Also, it requires long and densely arranged feathers from the start;
that's perhaps not plausible.
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