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Re: Most dinosaurs were scaly

----- Original Message -----

> From: "Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." <tholtz@umd.edu>
> To: Jura <pristichampsus@yahoo.com>
> Cc: "dinosaur@usc.edu" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
> Sent: Tuesday, 31 December 2013 9:10 AM
> Subject: Re: Most dinosaurs were scaly

>>  but even so,
>>  naked skin is not scaly skin. It is what is found underneath/between
>>  scales, hair, and feathers. We are comparing apples and oranges here.
> No, we aren't. Again, no one is saying that large dinosaurs were
> scale-less. Furthermore, I don't know that people are arguing that they
> are PRIMARILY scaleless.
> But that is not the same as saying they are fuzz-free.
> In any sediment that isn't a lacustrine/lagoonal sediment, you can only
> record a "?" for the presence of fuzz. You can't record a 
> "0" (unless you
> have 100% body coverage, which none of the mummies have), nor can your
> record a "1". Just a "?".


True you can't, but one can infer coverage based on where that body covering is 
and how it relates to known developmental pathways in extant animals. Otherwise 
we are asking for special integumental interactions that have no analogue among 
extant animals. That requires extraordinary evidence to back it up and we don't 
have that. Maybe that will change in 2014, but we don't have it right now.

Note that assuming a Schrodinger's cat scenario for regions of a fossil that 
don't preserve integument can also be used to justify scaly dromaeosaurs based 
on specimens that don't preserve soft-tissue.