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RE: Dinosaur Revolution Review
> Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2011 18:40:01 -0700
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: Dinosaur Revolution Review
> While the lack of scale plasticity in extant birds may very well be a derived
> trait, I still can't help but wonder about the old "party line" regarding why
> scales were lost in the first place (i.e. the weight reduction hypothesis).
> With the exception of osteoderms, scales are not that heavy. Birds get away
> with flying around with all kinds of strange display structures that would
> weigh more than a light covering of scales would.
Some might argue that that is what birds can afford to do, after they first
got good at flying around.
You can put carpets and chairs in modern planes (even small ones), but the
Wright Flier had to watch how much material it took on board.
> Has anyone ever really test this whole weight reduction scenario. The scales
> angle would be hard, but one could try at least test the other trait that is
> often argued to have been lost do to weight reduction (teeth). In that case
> it would just require gluing teeth to the bills of some flapping birds and
> then looking at the change in flight costs associated with it. Ther
> eady been similar studies using "feather extensions." Anyway I'm going even
> further off subject. The point I'm making here is that I think the weight
> reduction hypothesis is one that is way overused, and undertested.