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Thread: dino news: mummified dinosaur tail found in amber. Has ACTUAL 3D FEATHERY FEATHERS

  1. #51
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    What do you suppose the use of such a long tail was if not as a weight rudder? Any prehensile indications?

  2. #52
    Member
    Registered: Jun 1999
    Location: Procrastination, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Vivian View Post
    Actual paper (http://www.cell.com/current-biology/...16)31193-9.pdf NB: IT IS XU FUCKING XING AGAIN. Is it illegal for a chinese theropod to be published on without including him?
    Going somewhat tangentially meta for a moment (can you do that? I dunno) that's kinda a thing in science generally, is it not?
    You get that dual force of celebrity where if you want to make sure your paper gets published then you go and get a few names for the authors list and, alternately, you sometimes get these massive names and egos who will be aware of any big ticket work going on and will be able to worm their way on there in some form or other (as well as cliquey but genuine collaboration of all sorts)
    For an extreme example, I think that was how half (or more) of the authors on Wakefield's original study were on there: he wanted names, they thought it could be something worth getting in on early and -boom- "authorship" (then later they took a closer look and thought better of the whole thing).
    It's much more collegial and benign most of the time though, of course.

  3. #53
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    What do you suppose the use of such a long tail was if not as a weight rudder? Any prehensile indications?
    I'm going to quickly hit the buzzer before Vivian answers properly and say "for balance" and hopefully score a point.

  4. #54
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Wouldn't balance in the air be the same as a rudder?

  5. #55
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: swimming in pickled herring
    Seems like pitch (up/down) would be that critters biggest problem, that wing arrangement seems like it would tend to make every glide path look my bank account balance; plummeting straight down! (and then tumbling out of control) Interesting you mentioned the possibility of that tail being prehensile, my first thought was that if it had a prehensile tail, that arrangement would make a nice "net" to capture flying insects. Catching its prey in a "basket" formed by it's lower limbs would allow easy access to dinner for its upper limbs and mouth. As an actual wing surface for even the most basic of gliding capabilities, this design looks like a total fail. Perhaps this unusual design was arrived at for some other bizarre purpose? (maybe to attract a mate, I'm thinking M.C. Hammer pants, if those could be considered attractive at any point of the earths history) Big thanks to Vivian for this thread, my Bookmarks/Science/Dinos_and_Ect. folder has grow considerably in the last couple of days!

  6. #56
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Put it this way - why do many land creatures still have tails? Also, watch carefully what a cheetah's tail does while it is running.

  7. #57
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: 1, Rotation: 0

  8. #58
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    Quote Originally Posted by faetal View Post
    Put it this way - why do many land creatures still have tails? Also, watch carefully what a cheetah's tail does while it is running.
    I think Vivian is the person to tell us. What does a cheetah's tail look like when it runs? Cool? Not as cool as a leopard's, I promise you that.

  9. #59
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    Ooh hang on I do know that one, some peeps in my lab did some work on it. They use their tail as an inertial rudder thing, helps them reorient in midair when they're chasing stuff. The flying shavriopteryx might do the same with its long tail, but I would have thought it would just use the flight surfaces? Geckoes do use their tails for adjusting themselves in mid-air though, so it's not out of the question. I'll dig out some links tomorrow.

  10. #60
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Location: Canuckistan GWN
    This video has some interesting footage of the tail in action, starting around 1:12


  11. #61
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Location: Canuckistan GWN
    Also, relevant chicken porn.


  12. #62
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vivian View Post
    Ooh hang on I do know that one, some peeps in my lab did some work on it. They use their tail as an inertial rudder thing, helps them reorient in midair when they're chasing stuff. The flying shavriopteryx might do the same with its long tail, but I would have thought it would just use the flight surfaces? Geckoes do use their tails for adjusting themselves in mid-air though, so it's not out of the question. I'll dig out some links tomorrow.
    Ha HA! I'm right. It just goes to show if you shoot enough bullets something is going to yell ouch.

  13. #63
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    More general dino news - some interesting stuff on incubation periods. Turns out Ornithischia at least (the triceratops/hadrosaur/stegosaur/ankylosaur etc group) had very long incubation times, more like lizards than birds: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/20...613716114.full

    PopSci coverage here: http://www.livescience.com/57368-din...tion-time.html

    As this would lower the generation rate, it seems to be being interpreted as a causative factor in all non-avian dinosaurs non-survival after the KT impact. It's only really relevant to Ornithischia though, and the physiology of those guys is pretty mysterious in general. I'd be interested to see a follow up done on some saurischia.

    Nicker, I actually wrote a blog about that chicken tail research for the guardian. I was going for a sort of brooker-esque style and it's a bit embarrassing reading it now, but here you go:https://www.theguardian.com/science/...ock-o-the-walk
    Last edited by Vivian; 7th Jan 2017 at 06:31.

  14. #64
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Location: Canuckistan GWN
    I enjoyed the article, Doc. But I must take issue with you calling chickens rubbish birds. On the contrary they taste just like dinosaurs and dinos are not rubbish.

    But I digress. I wonder if you could clear up a distinction regarding the term "fossil".

    My understanding was that fossilization involved the replacement of organic material with minerals. But I often see mummified remains referred to as fossils, at least in the science press. Is this just lazy use of terms or are mummies a subset of fossils? Is the tail in amber a fossil or a mummy?

  15. #65
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    It's a fossilised mummy. Mummification is just dessication (well, kinda), but often things mummify before they fossilise. They will generally have spent thousands of years in anoxic mud first, after all.

  16. #66
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Given that humans are the dominant species of the moment, I'd say that being Fucking Delicious is actually a pretty decent survival trait.

  17. #67
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I've read that theory before, that it wasn't humans selecting edible cows and chickens so much as cows and chickens selecting humans with a taste for them.

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