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FW: Microraptor Had Iridescent Plumage

From: Jason Brougham
Sent: Friday, March 09, 2012 3:02 PM
To: d_ohmes@yahoo.com; "dinosaur@usc.edu"@listproc.usc.edu
Subject: RE: Microraptor Had Iridescent Plumage

One more thought, you speak of trying to clean gore out of feathers and having 
it strip the bird, a scene I commend you for braving.

However those are pennaceous feathers of modern aspect, while deinonychosaurs 
are thought to have simpler, primitive, feathers on the body, which may behave 
more like the fur of coyotes and jackals and other mammalian scavengers.

Lastly birds preen and bathe. Maybe scavenger deinonychosaurs could have as 
well. Or maybe they just stank to high heaven and tolerated septic faces better.
From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] on behalf of Jason 
Brougham [jaseb@amnh.org]
Sent: Friday, March 09, 2012 2:58 PM
To: d_ohmes@yahoo.com; "dinosaur@usc.edu"@listproc.usc.edu
Subject: RE: Microraptor Had Iridescent Plumage

>But your knowledge base and research resources obviously outclass mine
-- perhaps you could be so kind as to supply some counter-examples?

Not at all, I defer to your expertise. However corvids do come to mind. They 
are classic generalists but in some parts of their range, in some seasons, 
ravens, crows, and magpies subsist on large carcasses killed by wolves and 
other large predators.

But that's not my real disagreement with your hypothesis, really it's sort of 
the converse - that we have no reason to suspect bare heads OR carrion feeding 
in Microraptor. We have positive evidence of diets of small game. Not 
Confuciusornis, smaller enantiornithines. We know Microraptor's closest 
relative Sinornithosaurus did not have a bare head either.

> In the case of Microraptor the diet is known to be small vertebrates - birds 
> and mammals, possibly swallowed whole.

>I doubt Microraptor could swallow a Confuciusornis whole, but should
Microraptor (or any other beakless carnivore) be found to have a
feathery snout, then "swal
would be reasonable guesses.