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A continued role for signalling functions in the early evolution of feathers

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Author(s)

Graeme D. Ruxton, W. Scott Persons IV, Philip J. Currie

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Abstract

Persons and Currie (2015) argued against either flight, thermoregulation, or signalling as a functional benefit driving the earliest evolution of feathers; rather, they favoured simple feathers having an initial tactile sensory function, which changed to a thermoregulatory function as density increased. Here, we explore the relative merits of early simple feathers that may have originated as tactile sensors progressing instead towards a signalling, rather than (or in addition to), a thermoregulatory function. We suggest that signalling could act in concert with a sensory function more naturally than could thermoregulation. As such, the dismissal of a possible signalling function and the presumption that an initial sensory function led directly to a thermoregulatory function (implicit in the title “bristles before down”) are premature.
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-799
Number of pages3
JournalEvolution
Volume71
Issue number3
Early online date2 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

    Research areas

  • Bristles, Down, Evolution of birds, Feathered dinosaurs, Flight, Plumage, Thermoregulation

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