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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 "swallowed most food whole" or "ate non-messy food"
would be reasonable guesses.