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I have a new creature from my complex remembered dreams. It's skin color is a dark color similar to the skin of a Silkie chicken. The thing I saw in the dream also has white feathers.

It's body is something like this:

Nostavan sketch Simplified side view. Gray=skin. White=feathers. Has four arms, four legs, and tail with clawed hand. Two wings. Has feather bits on head to protect ears like a bird has.

I'm wondering if a creature would have a reason to have feather covering only on its back area. Sun protection would probably be redundant since it has dark skin.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you rehost your image to somewhere else? Pinterest is cancer $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Nov 12 '19 at 0:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Dragongeek that's the only place I know how to put it besides deviantart, but it's not complete so I can't put it there yet. Why is it bad? $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Chickenpeep Nov 12 '19 at 1:09
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    $\begingroup$ There is no creature on that page. You need to include the picture I’m your post. Please follow these instructions. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/75491/… No one can see you creature. $\endgroup$ – Vogon Poet Nov 12 '19 at 3:14
  • $\begingroup$ Could you please include a picture, I only discovered it's supposed to have wings because of a comment on an answer. $\endgroup$ – A new normal. Nov 12 '19 at 6:10
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    $\begingroup$ Use the same reason that people pretty much only have hair on their head. $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Nov 12 '19 at 19:08
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Even if the feathers may not solve a physical purpose, There could be some reasons for their existence like:

Mating

A peacock has those bright beautiful feathers as a tail, they don't serve much of a purpose other than the real purpose, that is attracting a female. Almost all birds use their feathers to attract a potential mate. Your creature may use these feathers to attract females, additionally, if the feathers can rise at the creatures will it will add to its beauty.

Threating others

Just like any animal's instinct, if you can make yourself look bigger, you can easily threaten others, including predators, enemies of the same or different species.

Estimate age and health

Though it may seem absurd and useless, the color and/or size of its feather can show what is the individual's state of health and relative age. A young can have pale feathers, an adult will have bright colors and an old will have faded colors. similarly in case of health.

Possible nest

Just had a very exciting idea, what if the female lays the eggs, on the feathers of the male, making it a sort of nest, and even after hatching the babies stick to the feathers.

Communication

The movements of these feathers may act as a possible medium of communication between these creatures, not too complex like a Morse code, but something better than a dog wagging its tail.

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There's evidence that feathers are an ancestral trait to dinosaurs, and that while people are used to the idea of theropods being feathered, they might have been more widespread, with the possibility that some species, especially larger ones, were mostly featherless but might have retained some feathers for display. On a quadruped, the logical place for that would be along the back.

So some dinosaurs might have had what you imagine. And in any event, there's no reason necessary other than display to explain why.

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Feathers are modified scales, so your question could just as easily be why would a creature have scales on its back.

However, feathers are also very important signals in biology, showing that a creature is a healthy and suitable mate. Any creature with feathers will likely use them as a health indicator, even if they do not fly. A bright plumage indicates a healthy animal. Also, feathers form a protective oil barrier for aquatic species. If the creature needed to swim in the water and also needed to keep its back dry, feathers could do this. It may need this to keep an air envelope on the creatures back for buoyancy, like an inverted ballast. Feathers can be extended for air circulation to help cool the creature in hot weather. The animal turns its side to the breeze and the feathers raise like a sail, directing cooling air down over its body.

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  • $\begingroup$ On cold nights, the creature may curl up to sleep with legs tucked in, and most heat loss would be from its back. $\endgroup$ – Patricia Shanahan Nov 12 '19 at 0:30
  • $\begingroup$ But I said they are ONLY on the back area. And these do fly. They have wings. Are you able to see the picture? $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Chickenpeep Nov 12 '19 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ Who are you talking to? Nothing in my answer changes if the creature flies or not. Bats, flying fish, and insects fly fine without feathers. $\endgroup$ – Vogon Poet Nov 12 '19 at 3:07
  • $\begingroup$ No one can see the picture. It needs to be included in the question. $\endgroup$ – Vogon Poet Nov 12 '19 at 3:14
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This feathered area serves as a nest for a species that maintains a mutualistic relationship with your creature.

If the two species maintain a mutually beneficial relationship, it would be logical for the larger of the two to conserve their feathers to provide a safe environment for the smaller of the two. Take a look at the Oxpecker and Hippopotamus:

Hippopotamus with multiple Oxpecker birds resting on its back and sides

In this situation, the Oxpecker helps the Hippo by eating the ticks that bite into the Hippo's skin. You could easily imagine some form of skin parasite that infests your large, feathered creature, and a handy mutualistic relationship with some local birds, or even squirrel-like rodents, could help explain this specific featheredness (if that's a word).

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