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Did dinosaurs use blood feathers for cooling?


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#1    RandomJay

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 12:00 AM

Massive question. According to Wikipedia, :P The climate from the Triassic to the Cretaceous periods were about 3-4 degrees celcius warmer on avarage than they are now.

This makes me question the need for cooling structures on ancient life so I'll get right to the point.

Did the hollow flight feather evolve from something that was originally meant to act as a blood filled radiator?

Some back ground and the idea in question.

There are many wierd shapes of dinosaurs, There are some with massive plates or spines or other protrusions that stick out from there body. Some such as the staggesaurous I'm going to assume have vascualr plates designed for heating in the sun and cooling in the shade. If they were spacifically for heating these creatures would have had problems at night so I'm going to assume cooling. These dinos didn't have feathers because they used plates. Some of the four legged dinosaurs had sails on their backs such as Dimetrodon. By the way spiney back sails can be aligned with the sun to avoid head accumulation due to a smaller surface area to be heated and thus still provide cooling in direct sunlight. Certain theropods such as spinosaurous maintained their lizard heritage by using extreme body protrusions for regulating heating and cooling. Basically this idea holds that a spinosaurous maintained it's body temperatures with a combination of water and it's huge spiny back sail. The reason it had a huge spiney back sail is because it was actually still a lizard.

This is where the feathers come in.

For Theropads without huge spiney protrusions to be able to grow in size and still chase prey without overheating, they needed another way too cool, and this is where 'flight feathers' started to evolve.
Basically flight feathers on modern birds are hollow but do not grow in this way at first.
At first they are filled with blood proving that feathers, even on modern birds can be filled with blood.
They are called pin, or blood feathers.

So what if the hollow effect wasn't evolved yet on dinosaurs and earlier in their evolution, feathers filled and stayed filled with blood?
This would allow a dinosaur to use them as a radiator while running and chasing prey by spreading them out while cutting off the cooling effect by hugging them into the body.
The little arms on the large theropods were designed to both expand and contract the blood feathers lto control the effect.
The idea here is that Dinosaurs had an early blood feather version of flight feathers used primarily for cooling while hunting that evolved into flight feathers as the earth cooled a few degrees.
When chasing prey, ancient theropods would expand their wings and adjust their tails to best cool off while chasing prey.
Sweat would come out of the pours and run along the feathers.
There's a chance that many of the large theropods such as T-Rex overheated their prey!

The earliest use that dinosaurs probably had for flight feathers as an aerodynamic force was to improved stability, acceleration, cornering and in general land based agility including dropping from trees for hunting purposes.
Flight probably evovled from 'tree droppers' with 'accelerator and cornerers' becoming birds such as ostrich and emu.
Land birds never lost their ability to fly as flying was never an original ability of feathered animals.
Ever notice an Ostrich flares it's feathers out when it runs?

Watch this video and notice that the Osterich flares it's white wings out when it runs that you can't see when it stands still or walks. It's literally running like an ancient theropod would have flaring it's wings for the cooling effect to prevent heat stroke from running.

https://www.youtube....h?v=1r-b8uY7C9E

The ostriches in this video look like they're cupping air in their 'wing pits' to keep cool while running. An effect left over from hotter times.

In the grand scheem of feathers I'm assuming there are downy type insulation feathers and hollow (blood filled) cooling type feathers which evolved into insulation flight feathers with global cooling to become flight feathers.

So in other words Ancient theropods used solid downy feathers for warmth but also used blood feathers as a radiator for running down prey in a hot environment which then became the flight feathers of todays colder climate birds.

Edited by RandomJay, 25 March 2014 - 12:28 AM.


#2    PersonFromPorlock

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 04:02 PM

I suspect the ostrich is simply exposing more-or-less bare skin under its wings for better cooling.


#3    Erno86

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 09:44 PM

I believe that when some dinosaurs migrated north or south --- closer to the poles --- they would have adapted to the cooler temperatures, by growing feathers and also as a possible sexual/threat display, by spreading out the feathers.

Most of our former dinosaurs were warm blooded creatures...not reptiles --- but it consisted of a warm blooded system different from most mammals --- which has been proven by electron microscope studies of fossilized dinosaur bone structure.

The blood pin feathers are a sign of a young immature bird, and possibly might be the same for some young feathered dinosaurs {since they possibly still exist --- dinosaurs/dinosauroid humanoids...feathers or not --- on some faraway star systems}. But since pin feathers don't seem to bleed out on feathered birds when removed {my guess, cuz I never plucked a live pin feathered bird} --- I speculate that pin feathers would not be used as main cooling system's on dinosaurs --- but grown mature feathers would be also be used to shield the dinosaur from the effects of the sun and rainwater/snow.

I also agree with PersonFromPorlock's opinion.

Humans are mainly hairless, in order to cool themselves down better --- while sweating --- when chasing down game in subtropical/tropical climes. My guess.. it would be the same for a T-Rex in a comparable climate.

Edited by Erno86, 25 March 2014 - 10:40 PM.


#4    Zeta Reticulum

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 11:49 PM

View PostRandomJay, on 25 March 2014 - 12:00 AM, said:

Massive question. According to Wikipedia, :P The climate from the Triassic to the Cretaceous periods were about 3-4 degrees celcius warmer on avarage than they are now.

This makes me question the need for cooling structures on ancient life so I'll get right to the point.

Did the hollow flight feather evolve from something that was originally meant to act as a blood filled radiator?

Some back ground and the idea in question.

There are many wierd shapes of dinosaurs, There are some with massive plates or spines or other protrusions that stick out from there body. Some such as the staggesaurous I'm going to assume have vascualr plates designed for heating in the sun and cooling in the shade. If they were spacifically for heating these creatures would have had problems at night so I'm going to assume cooling. These dinos didn't have feathers because they used plates. Some of the four legged dinosaurs had sails on their backs such as Dimetrodon. By the way spiney back sails can be aligned with the sun to avoid head accumulation due to a smaller surface area to be heated and thus still provide cooling in direct sunlight. Certain theropods such as spinosaurous maintained their lizard heritage by using extreme body protrusions for regulating heating and cooling. Basically this idea holds that a spinosaurous maintained it's body temperatures with a combination of water and it's huge spiny back sail. The reason it had a huge spiney back sail is because it was actually still a lizard.

This is where the feathers come in.

For Theropads without huge spiney protrusions to be able to grow in size and still chase prey without overheating, they needed another way too cool, and this is where 'flight feathers' started to evolve.
Basically flight feathers on modern birds are hollow but do not grow in this way at first.
At first they are filled with blood proving that feathers, even on modern birds can be filled with blood.
They are called pin, or blood feathers.

So what if the hollow effect wasn't evolved yet on dinosaurs and earlier in their evolution, feathers filled and stayed filled with blood?
This would allow a dinosaur to use them as a radiator while running and chasing prey by spreading them out while cutting off the cooling effect by hugging them into the body.
The little arms on the large theropods were designed to both expand and contract the blood feathers lto control the effect.
The idea here is that Dinosaurs had an early blood feather version of flight feathers used primarily for cooling while hunting that evolved into flight feathers as the earth cooled a few degrees.
When chasing prey, ancient theropods would expand their wings and adjust their tails to best cool off while chasing prey.
Sweat would come out of the pours and run along the feathers.
There's a chance that many of the large theropods such as T-Rex overheated their prey!

The earliest use that dinosaurs probably had for flight feathers as an aerodynamic force was to improved stability, acceleration, cornering and in general land based agility including dropping from trees for hunting purposes.
Flight probably evovled from 'tree droppers' with 'accelerator and cornerers' becoming birds such as ostrich and emu.
Land birds never lost their ability to fly as flying was never an original ability of feathered animals.
Ever notice an Ostrich flares it's feathers out when it runs?

Watch this video and notice that the Osterich flares it's white wings out when it runs that you can't see when it stands still or walks. It's literally running like an ancient theropod would have flaring it's wings for the cooling effect to prevent heat stroke from running.

https://www.youtube....h?v=1r-b8uY7C9E

The ostriches in this video look like they're cupping air in their 'wing pits' to keep cool while running. An effect left over from hotter times.

In the grand scheem of feathers I'm assuming there are downy type insulation feathers and hollow (blood filled) cooling type feathers which evolved into insulation flight feathers with global cooling to become flight feathers.

So in other words Ancient theropods used solid downy feathers for warmth but also used blood feathers as a radiator for running down prey in a hot environment which then became the flight feathers of todays colder climate birds.
If it was 3 - 4 degrees warmer in those times, how did dinosaurs survive for hundreds of millions of years. We are told by the climate alarmists
that if our planet warms by even a few degrees, then we are all doomed.


#5    RandomJay

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 01:33 AM

I'm not an expert as such on birds as I've recently learned that they do not sweat, so strike that, but I'm not so sure that pin feathers are from an immature bird as they are from and immature feather. According to numerous articles from aviaries on-line here the pin feather is normal for all birds while they molt and form new feathers. Every new feather starts out with a blood supply to support it and this blood supply is eventually cut off as the feather matures, not the bird.

The use of the ostrich simply shows how running birds instinctively float their flight feathers out behind them, even though it's a drag and good for turning they are a bunch of loose and floppy fathers in the rear. Maybe too look good? Maybe they pull in some cool with them when they stop running. You try running with a bunch of giant feathers dragging out behind you and tell me this was an efficient selection of feathers. I still feel they're dragging earlier evolved blood feathers in a hotter time to keep up with the bony protrusions or use of water with non feathered dinosaurs.

The main question really is are hollow feathers a recent part of the evolution of the feather itself? Can it be confirmed that dinosaur feathers were in fact hollow with air and not blood? Like anything else from ancient history not all things we see today were of the same form millions of years ago. This is a question of the evolution of the feather itself. Think of this Analogy: As humans grow a tail in the mothers womb representing our evolutionary transformation through maybe fish to human, the blood in a pin feather could actually represent the feather from it's previous evolution *before* it evolved the hollow form it takes today. You need to evolve step A before Step B can take shape! It probably took millions of years for the feather to become hollow. I guarantee the growth of a flight feather didn't just show up like that but took on many evolutionary transformations itself and probably stayed a pin feather for millions of years before evolving the ability to drain the blood. Consider how important it is to realize that during the previous evolutions, more often than not, things lacked their current sophisticated functions. From Simple life forms to complex beings.

And for the third concern there with the 3-4 degree temperature increase being nothing to worry about. Worry about the evolution of feathers on non flying creatures and how we don't have them at our current size. Worry about how well we can rid our bodies of the extra heat for a month out of the year. And don't say air machines, I'm talking evolution! Did Apatosaurus grow a long neck to keep it's body below thermocline for a month or two out of the year? There are air-conditioning and cooling clues all over dinosaurs from those days and once you start to see it, it doesn't go away. I think we may have made a mistake thinking that in our current evolutionary state that we could have actually have lived with dinosaurs in their climate year round. Their summers could have been unbearable to us from pole to pole and I don't want to miss the evidence in the rash attempt to avoid 'alarmism'. We are the Ice Agers as I like to call it. We evolved through the snow.

And by the way I keep seeing the Asteroid theory killing plants, then herbivores and then predators via the food chain, but what about a kind of nuclear winter freezing all the air conditioned dinosaurs to death after the asteroid impact? I've seen fire theories too. Does it have to be starvation?

I'm simply interested in knowing different possibilities of what the dinosaurs were like despite a mass use of them indicating that we can survive their climate. There are many possible solutions to interpreting dinosaurs with limited information. People really are basing our security on what we know about and loosely interpret of them and this in turn creates a mass of bias that some of the cooler and probably more accurate ideas can't survive. We probably couldn't survive dinosaur climate year round in our current form. But a lot of 'anti-alarmists' need the dinosaurs to be a lot like us so we can take comfort in creating a climate like theirs and beyond. I bet any money that if the cooling feather theory won Ancient climate model temperatures would rise. I have a suspicion that current estimates are shaped by what we know of the animals of past times and that makes this an important thing to get right.

I'm not saying that this theory is actually true, but I'm not saying it isn't. I just think it's damn important for people to be able to at least think about it.  I would put money on pin feathers being the norm for millions of years due to evolutionary lag between feather building processes, but as to weather they were hollow by the time they got to the dinosaurs I'll assume will remain a mystery to the general public to avoid any sense of climate 'alarm-ism'.

Edited by RandomJay, 31 March 2014 - 02:19 AM.


#6    RandomJay

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 05:30 AM

I'm still thinking about the origins of flight feathers and thought I'd share some recent thoughts on the idea.

Convergent evolution has to do with the use and reuse of genes over time.

https://www.youtube....h?v=AYBRbCLI4zU

I found a good example of this defined in a video on YouTube.

I think a good idea would be to compare our own attraction as humans to how birds elicit attraction. This is because a lot of feathers are being primarily associated with courtship rituals and not biological survival mechanisms.

The analogy to use is Humans in their reproductive prime are most attracted to healthy athletic bodies as birds in their prime are attracted to healthy displays of feathers.

Our attractions to healthy athletic bodies helped us survive the Paleolithic era which, apparently, elite athletes are trying to catch up with. I'm guessing there are some bones hinting at a fantastic physiques out there somewhere that I couldn't find at the last minute for this. Anyways a theory holds that sex selection and not necessarily fitness levels have determined most traits that have been passed on, because, they have to survive reproduction to continue existence as a species. So traits that were once needed for survival also had to exhibited or at least not inhibit sex appeal. Once the trait was no longer required for survival it still had to elicit sex appeal to continue the remaining traits via reproduction.

Repeat, any remaining trait has to pass, or at least not inhibit sex appeal to be passed on through reproduction. Survival of the luckiest dawg!!!

Anyhow,

This is where things that seem only useful for sex appeal come from. Past 'useful for survival' traits becoming today's 'useful for turn ons'.

Traits that remain today that increase sex appeal are based on traits that were once essential to survival (or at the very rare minimum didn't inhibit it).

The foundations of flight feathers.

The feathers that line the wings, legs and tails of birds are made of keratin. This stuff makes finger nails and claws too, which is very interesting. It seems that fingernails and claws appear at the ends of bones in the hands and feet. Reptiles, birds, mammals seem to have a 'keratin cap' at the ends of extremities. Used as tools for various things by each creature. Keratin could be the last remaining vestiges of an exo-skeleton. lol, crayfish almost comes to mind as you'll see next.

Interesting note on the keratin tipping bones at the extremities is that birds still have their bony tail produced keratin feathers where as most other species have lost their keratin tails. This accounts for the extra keratin (feathers) on the tail. Our original tails were probably flat like a dolphin early on and hence birds have a flat keratin pattern of feathers remaining for their tail.

How did keratin feathers take the ends of bony protrusions all they way up the arm to form a wing? Ok what happens when you mix basic feather DNA that creates those small downy feathers that cover a bird for warmth with claw DNA? I'm guessing a cross between a claw and a feather. A hybrid cross that happened to form the first proto flight feathers. These basic proto feathers were a line of keratin 'claw' like structures that started to ride up the arm, or as it's started, it's wing. This process also occurred on the legs, tail and in some cases along the spine and around the head.

It was basically an evolution of claw DNA interacting with proto down feather DNA to form a long hollow blood filled (claw) quill (feather). The claw and quill combined to form the proto flight feathers. These protofeathers left the ends of the boney protrusions like the downy proto Feather DNA and started to run up the arm in a straight orderly fashion like the claw DNA. This is how this DNA moved passed the bone tips and back up the appendage. As these feathers evolved they started as blood filled like a claw.

That cooling thing again.

The earth was cooling from the Triassic through the Cretaceous period. It was going from warmer to cooler during the dinosaurs over all. This means that dinosaurs evolved from even hotter times that preceded them. It makes much sense that many ancient creatures relied more on cooling off than maintaining heat in the past.

Varying dinosaurs have exhibited possible thermoregulating adaptations that no longer exist in our modern world. Many dinosaurs have bony protrusions along their backs, plates in addition to their horns across their skull, back plates, back sails and many other possible cooling systems while modern creatures are mostly smooth and hairy or covered in heat trapping hollow feathers. But athletic 'chase it down' Theropoda such as T-Rex only relies on bare skin 365 days out of a Cretaceous year? To chase and hunt prey in the Cretaceous sun?

This is where early proto feathers came in. They're early forms could have been close to that of blood filled claws (like a cat's but longer, thinner and more felxible) lining appendages and spines. Anywhere there were bones these special keratin projections could be found. As the chaotic barbules of the  downy feather DNA interacts with the claw DNA and subtle mutations, straight fractilian barbules emerged on the new proto flight-feathers.

This is where it get's interesting for me. I watched a recent documentary and an evolution vs. extinction event may have occurred during the Chicxulub impactor.

There were two basic variates of feathered dinosaurs, land based and aquatic.

WHAT IF AQUATIC BASED BIRDS WERE THE FIRST EVOLUTION OF HOLLOW FEATHERS FILLED WITH AIR AND NOT BLOOD. Birds that had air filled feathers could float and therefor escape land predators via the water.

According to the video only the aquatic birds survive and all feather bearing land based dinosaurs die off. Could feathers that float also offer insulation instead of a cooling effect?

Now imagine this. All dinosaurs with over sized cooling appendages and dinosaurs that still didn't evolve hollow feathers because they were being used to cool the animal, died off when the with the Chicxulub impactor caused a global cloud of ash that blocked the sun and therefor the heat they were dissipating. It would have been like not being able to remove wet cotton during a sudden snow storm to have blood feathers.

This hollow vs. blood feather differentiation may further explain why only these feathered dinosaurs survived the extinction. Birds may have evolved hollow feathers in the nick of time

or in other words,

Neonithes, or modern birds, may have survive Chicxulub by the skin of their evolutionary teeth.

Watch this video at around 38 minutes to get a great cartoon of this extinction event mixed with an explanation by actual scientists. ;-p

https://www.youtube....h?v=aSEukrlf0Ho

Edited by RandomJay, 03 April 2014 - 05:40 AM.


#7    RandomJay

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 07:37 AM

Just want to add a note on something that I noticed. Keratin forms at the end of bones that project from the body. Since we as humans have lost our tails a clue of this may be a patch or Keratin. Major bones that don't connect to a second bone with cartridge form a Keratin structure such as nails or hair. We have fingernails at the ends of each finger and toe nails at the end of each toe. A patch of hair on our skull and a patch of pubic hair that represents our missing tail! Not sure about other species.

The simple pattern seen in skeleton structures seems to be:

Keratin, Bone, Cartilage, Bone, Cartilage, Bone, Cartilage, Bone, Keratin

Give or take a few bones given the line of bones followed.

Edited by RandomJay, 03 April 2014 - 08:14 AM.





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