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Re: Two questions on the dino-fleas

Don Ohmes <d_ohmes@yahoo.com> wrote:

> What I do not quite understand is the unstated presumption that "filamentous
>  body coverings"  would be advantageous or necessary to proto-fleas -- I
> would speculate that thick dino-fuzz might difficult for a 2 cm flea to
> navigate, whereas the wrinkles, cracks and crevices of basal dinosaurs would
> provide a suitable, if sometimes disgusting, habitat in the _absence_ of a
> dense covering.

The hypothesis that proto-fleas used "filamentous body coverings" to
cling to their hosts is based on the morphology of their appendages:

  "The stiff, elongate, posteriorly directed setae and
   the long curved claws with a prominent basal lobe are clearly specialized
   structures in which hairs may become firmly lodged. This indicates that
   these Mesozoic species were living on hosts that were covered by fur or
   feathers, rather than on vertebrates with skin that was nude or covered
   with scales."