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RE: Microraptor Had Iridescent Plumage
>In *Eoenantiornis*, feathers reach almost all the way to the tip, and the tip
>itself is prepared out.
I'd be careful about that. True, the halo of feathers does extend quite far
rostrally. But the premaxilla does not have feathers. Also, the skull is
partially disarticulated. The right side, where the feathers extend farthest
distally, has a displaced maxilla, and frontal splayed out. Those fragments
look like they carried the feathers up distally. On the left side the feathers
end before the posterior margin of the nostril, as I mentioned and as I
illustrated in Microraptor.
I don't know of a beak in any deinonychosaur, so I avoid that.
I find this book invaluable:
Lucas, Alfred M. (1972). Avian Anatomy - integument. East Lansing, Michigan,
USA: USDA Avian Anatomy Project, Michigan State University
It shows the histology of skin in birds, and it presents scales, scutes,
scutellae, reticulae, and cornified skin, as really just being all steps on a
continuum. It is all keratinized skin, organized according to degree of
thickness, hardness, and subsequent jointedness.
If I had to guess what was on the tip of deinonychosaur snouts, and I do have
to to do my job, I would bet keratinized skin, but I can't really say how
scaly. Feathers would certainly not surprise me all, we just don't have any
evidence for them at this time.