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Re: Microraptor Had Iridescent Plumage



> > 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 :).

"Lip" has two different meanings. The other meaning is "the entire flap of 
skin, mucosa and muscle that stands away from the gums and covers the teeth", 
so that human mustaches are on the upper lip. That's what I meant here.

> 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.

I suppose that depends on the feathers.

> 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.

You're likely right about the tongues -- but concerning forelimbs, well, maybe 
you just found the reason why the finger claws weren't reduced to their extant 
size range any earlier in the ancestry of birds. I really should have thought 
of this earlier.