Re: Feathered Dinosaurs

From: Sandy Petersen (sandyp@idgecko.idsoftware.com)
Date: Thu 22 Feb 1996 - 03:02:36 EET


>Sorana Tor's beasts of choice are the Earth Shakers aka dinosaurs.
Are these
>feathered, or have they ever been?
Ian Gorlick
>If we assume that Gloranthan dinosaurs are in some ways modelled
on terran
>dinosaurs, then the answer is quite possibly "Yes". There has been
considerable
>evolution in paleontologists ideas about dinosaurs in recent
years, and quite a
>few reputable experts now portray a wide variety of dinosaurs as being
>feathered.
        Paleontology is still in a set of flux, but the following
seems clear:

Bird-Hipped dinosaurs did not have feathers and were probably not
fully warm-blooded. These include ankylosaurs, trachodons,
triceratops, iguanodons, and stegosaurs, among others.

Lizard-Hipped Dinosaurs mostly did not have feathers. These include
the vast majority of carnivorous dinosaurs, plus the sauropods
(brachiosaurus, diplodocus, etc.).
        Birds almost certainly evolved from a branch of the smaller
carnivores. Since birds have feathers, it's possible that some of
the smaller carnivores were feathered too, at least in part. It
seems highly unlikely that the big carnivores were feathered --
insulation would have been a serious problem for a very large
animal, just as it is now. (There's a reason that rhinos and
elephants don't have fur -- they overheat easily.)
        So the only dinosaurs that seem likely candidates for being
feathered are small carnivores. The famous velociraptors and their
ilk were only peripherally in the branch that led to birds, so they
may or may not have had feathers. My own gut suspicion is that they
didn't -- humans are warm-blooded, communal, plains-running
predators and we _lost_ our fur.
        For what it's worth.

Sandy P.

------------------------------


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 16:29:37 EEST