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Author Topic:   definition of proto feathers ?
Nuggin
Member (Idle past 2598 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 3 of 10 (412449)
07-24-2007 7:24 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Zucadragon
07-24-2007 4:56 PM


Lemme see if I can help
"Proto-feathers" refer to a number of feather-like structures predating the emergence of modern feathers.
It's not that they are "Feathers that aren't really feathers" but rather "feathers that do not have all the characteristics of modern feathers".
Much like a chariot could be said to be a proto-car. It doesn't have a combustion engine, it doesn't have windshield wipers, but from our perspective you can see where the technology ended up.
The first feather(y) structures, evolved from scales.
Feathers actually didn't evolve from scales, though this misconception is wide spread. There was an excellent article demonstrating feather development a few years back in (I believe) Discover Magazine. I'll try to find a link for you.
Feathers, scales and hair all utilitize the same proteins.
A lot of recent finds in China have shed a great deal of light on the development of feathers and flight.
One thing I find particularly telling is the presence of symetrical "wing" feathers on some of the fossils. Symertical feathers can not be used for flight, so obviously the development of feathers was due to some other selective force. Once feathers were in place, flight developed using what was available.
If you google feather, china and fossil, it'll get you started on dozens of article about the recent finds

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Zucadragon, posted 07-24-2007 4:56 PM Zucadragon has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Zucadragon, posted 07-25-2007 1:24 AM Nuggin has replied
 Message 7 by Wounded King, posted 07-26-2007 1:14 PM Nuggin has replied

  
Nuggin
Member (Idle past 2598 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 5 of 10 (412510)
07-25-2007 4:58 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Zucadragon
07-25-2007 1:24 AM


Re: Lemme see if I can help
Still trying to find the article, but from what i recall of it, it was demonstrating feather development out of hair (hair-like) growth rather than scales.
If you could imagine hair with branches, you can are close to this concept of (very early) proto-feather.
Though, generally, where I see proto-feather used, it's in reference to things like "downy like" feather/hair on extremely well preserved fossils coming out of China.
The quality of these things is just astonishing.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Zucadragon, posted 07-25-2007 1:24 AM Zucadragon has replied

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 Message 6 by Zucadragon, posted 07-26-2007 1:14 AM Nuggin has not replied

  
Nuggin
Member (Idle past 2598 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 9 of 10 (412876)
07-26-2007 4:11 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Wounded King
07-26-2007 1:14 PM


Re: Lemme see if I can help
I think we're discussing 3 different possibilities.
Shaft with barbs in all directions
Shaft with barbs on two sides symetrically
Shaft with barbs on two sides but not 100% symetric
While, 1 is useless for flight (think downy feathers). 2 isn't well suited either. 3 is really what you need for wing feathers.
Think about those old timey videos of early flying machines that involved a whole lot of flapping and not much getting anywhere.
A "wing" covered in #2 feathers could be useful for controlled falling, camoflauge, maybe a dozen other things, but you wouldn't want to use while trying to take off.
Basically, the existance of purely symetrical wing feathers is a real problem for the "God poofed flying animals into existance" crowd

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Wounded King, posted 07-26-2007 1:14 PM Wounded King has not replied

  
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