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RE: Dinosaur Revolution Review
I'm hesitant to use mammals as an analogy, as it may be a largely flawed
one. I would much rather look at what we see in birds and other dinosaurs. If
we look as species such as Juravenator starki, we see that the parts of the
body that would have frequently come in contact with the ground, or were
otherwise prone to abrasion, retained scales and scutes. Of course another
obvious example would be the feet of many birds. What I suspect is that there
may have been somewhat of a balancing act between the insulation provided by
fur and the protection afforded by scales and scutes. We see this in some birds
today: snow owls have replaced almost all of the scales on their feet in favor
of feathers because, in this particular case, insulation is more important than
'armor'. Bare skin was probably common in cases in which neither scales nor
protofeathers were strongly needed, or in lineages close to aves that may have
largely lost the ability to grow scales on anything except their feet. Many of
the more basal dinosaurs probably retained scales on their legs, the underside
of their tail, and their bellies. In some of the more derived forms (such as
thyreophorans) the parts of the body that were normally feathered were armored
with osteoderms, scutes and scales, which would have left no place for
protofeathers. It probably wouldn't have made much sense to fill the gaps with
fuzz as it would have created unnecessary gaps in the armor.
> Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2011 08:57:01 -0400
> From: email@example.com
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Re: Dinosaur Revolution Review
> "And I have a hunch that most if not all non armored small dinosaurs
> were at least partially fuzzy."
> If this is the case, why assume armored dinosaurs are an exception?
> Armored mammals typically don't lack fur, at least around the
> periphery of the armor and on the underside of the animal.