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RE: Microraptor Had Iridescent Plumage

> I have encountered the hypothesis of feathered snout tips in internet
> chats pretty often. Can I ask, is it based on a  hypothesis of the
> genetic development and evolution of feathered integuments?

No, no -- at least not for me. I'm just not used to any good arguments for a 
lack of feathers on a beakless snout in an animal that has a generally 
feathered body. Carnivorous mammals have hair on their lips, too.

> Is it that there is a hypothesis that feathering absolutely everywhere
> must precede keratinization of selected areas in the bird lineage?

No, and if there were, we couldn't tell (from the currently known fossils) when 
on the tree this hypothetical stage would have happened, so we couldn't tell 
whether any particular animal was past it. -- Aren't reticulae just 
plesiomorphic sauropsid scales?

> Moreover, in galliforms feather follicles, forming
> in the dermis, can erupt right through scutes.

Awesome. Can they erupt through a beak, too?