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Re: Microraptor Had Iridescent Plumage

On 3/9/2012 10:16 AM, David Marjanovic wrote:

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.

1) Ain't no hair on mammal lips, at least in common usage. Hair is how you tell where the lips end, and cheeks/jowls begin :).

2) In my experience, hair/fur is durable and easy to clean relative to feathers. Cleaning dried blood off of feathers usually results in a bald patch.

3) Mammals have tongues that are highly optimized to cleaning reachable areas, which includes lips (sensu 'hairy') and forelimbs that function well as 'wash cloths' -- cleaning is even a logical reason that dewclaws are retained in (e.g.) canid forelimbs.