Eyelashes of the Harvard Museum of Natural History
June 19, 2012
Matt pointed out to me something that in retrospect is obvious, though I’d never thought about it before: the eyelashes of birds are not homologous with ours, since mammals’ eyelashes are modified hairs and birds don’t have hair. Instead, their lashes are modified feathers. It would be interesting to see both kinds of eyelash under a microscope and compare.
It certainly looks as though these “feathers” are simple unbranched filaments — much like the earliest protofeathers found on so many of those wacky Chinese raptors. I wonder how closely they resemble the ancestral state?