T-Rex Cousin Might Have Been Fluffy Feathered

April 5, 2012


According to a recent study of immaculately preserved dino remains, a group of paleontologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing have determined that Yutyrannus huali ('beautiful feathered tyrant'), a relative of the t-rex that only grew to about 1/5 the weight, was covered in a fine, feathery down instead of scales. You know what that means! "It'd be that much more comfortable to sleep with your head on one's chest after a night of passion?" *wink* I've taught you well. I'm beaming like a proud father over here.

Paleontologists already knew that some members of the group of dinosaurs to which T. rex belonged, called theropods, were feathered. But most of the known feathered dinos were relatively small.

"It was a question mark whether larger relatives of these small theropods were also feathered," said study team member Corwin Sullivan, a paleontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. "We simply didn't have data either way, because soft-tissue preservation of any kind is so rare."

Now three tyrannosauroid fossils--one adult and two juveniles--offer clear proof that giant theropods could also be feathered. Their feathers were simple filaments, more like the fuzzy down of a modern baby chick than the stiff plumes of an adult bird.

Fascinating. Do you think they could fly like birds too? "Come on GW, they don't even have wings." I know, but maybe they like, used magic or something. "Not a chance, magic couldn't be wielded by animals until the primates." Damn, you do have a point.

One-Ton Feathered Dinosaur Found: Fluffy and Fierce [nationalgeographic]

Thanks to Kate V, Dino Cuddler (like, as a job?!), Ashley, Oliver From Canada, JGD, Tom the Mighty and Sy Snootles Is Hot, who know what I like and right now it's a lunch that doesn't involve only bread and condiments.

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