Is it possible that T-Rex had feathers?

  • Is it possible that T-Rex had feathers?

  • Doctor Anna

    Organizer
    October 31, 2020 at 21:36

    I keep wondering if T-Rex really could have looked like a monster chicken from hell IRL. What’s the evidence for/against feathers?

  • James Pascoe

    Member
    October 31, 2020 at 22:21

    I’ve friends heavily involved in this research, and the current consensus is they probably didn’t have much more than a sparse coating. We do have a large feathered member of the basal group called Yutyrannus. This animal is from the early Cretaceous and is 9 metres long and heavily feathered. But it’s considerably less bulky than the later Tyrannosaurids.

    There’s very limited patches of skin for Tyrannosaurs, what’s known is pebbly skin and not the feathers found in Yutyrannus. However these are very small parts of various animals and doesn’t preclude feathers. We also generally don’t find Tyrannosaurs in sediments that preserve feathers, so it’s impossible to totally rule them out.

    Overall the general consensus and the one applied to the recent reconstruction of Sue is non feathered scaly skin, perhaps with a few sparse filaments. However it’s possible they had a small amount of feathers, but there’s no histological evidence as we find in other groups like Deinocherius that has a pygostyle even though it’s almost as large as a Tyrannosaurus in size. I’ll add some pics in a moment to illustrate it

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  James Pascoe.
    • Doctor Anna

      Organizer
      October 31, 2020 at 22:24

      Thanks for that thorough answer! 🙂
      The giant monster chicken will still continue haunting me in my nightmares.

  • James Pascoe

    Member
    October 31, 2020 at 22:26
    • Doctor Anna

      Organizer
      October 31, 2020 at 22:28

      Wow! That’s really cool.

  • James Pascoe

    Organizer
    November 1, 2020 at 00:25

    This was pretty close to what most Tyrannosaur experts I know thought it looked like, feathered, though fairly sparsely like the hairs on an elephant. Very heavily built, the adults go through massive changes as they grow, juveniles are much more lightly built and more gracile in form. Currently the most recent illustrations are mostly naked though

    • Doctor Anna

      Organizer
      November 1, 2020 at 10:32

      That’s super interesting and gave me an answer to one of those science questions that I have been regularly pondering about.

      It’s kind of a nice look 🙂
      It’s not a monobrow, but yeah…what would you call it?

  • James Pascoe

    Organizer
    November 1, 2020 at 12:05

    So the subject of what the heads of Tyrannosaurs look like is currently a little heated, as there’s a leading worker called Thomas Carr (whose an excellent scientist but some of his ideas are substantially flawed) who proposes the jaws of Tyrannosaurs show a similar bone structure to crocodiles and therefore had a series of crack like scales as integument. Except crocodiles don’t actually have that, it’s a single sheet of skin that cracks as the animal ages…

    Instead Mark Witton and Dave Hone did a really in depth study of the various bone textures, and they propose a more widely accepted idea that the skulls show cornified sheets of skin, ossified areas, and a very rugose texture over the brow and creating the “unibrow” to help protect the eyes, and as a possible display structure. There’s a lot of debate (yelling and shouting mostly) about lips too, but I’ve probably wrote too much already lol

    • Doctor Anna

      Organizer
      November 1, 2020 at 13:09

      This is super interesting, James!

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