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Re: the Horner interview - "fluffy" T. Rex??

Darius Nau <dariusnau@gmx.at> wrote:

> It seems unlikely that large theropods completely lost their feathers,
> especially if sparse hair are actually useful for shedding heat. I don't
> know any terrestrial mammal that lacks all hair, but some have strongly
> reduced its abundance.

Scaly skin and bristle-like integumentary structures ('protofeathers')
might well have coexisted over most of the body of some dinosaurs,
especially theropods.  This combination has been inferred for
_Juravenator_ after closer inspection of the integument (Chiappe and
Gohlich, 2010).

> However, in any of these large taxa living in cold climates I'd expect to
> see much denser plumage (just like in mammoths). Smaller animals on the
> other hand tend to be feathered or furry regardless of the climate, so I
> don't think we can apply this to compsognathus, especially since it's
> emerging that it woulld hhaave had to especially lose its protofeathers.

Yes, the absence of preserved structures in _Compsognathus_ is
probably taphonomic.  It is highly likely that _Compsognathus_ had
some form of fuzz/protofeathers in life, but these were not preserved.