T. rex might not have been fluffy, after all
It turns out Tyrannosaurus rex may have not had a soft side, after all.
Researchers used skin impressions from a T. rex skeleton collected in Montana and compared them to impressions of other skeletons found over the years, all coming from various places on a T. rex body.
Scientists compared changes in skin impressions and body size, and deduced that the most notorious (and horniest?) dinosaur may have lost their feathers as they evolved and no longer needed them for warmth.
“Now that we’ve found these multiple patches of preserved tyrannosaur hide from multiple places across the body, it looks pretty clear that at least the majority of the T. rex was not covered in feathers,” University of Alberta paleontologist Scott Persons told National Geographic.
But like all studies involving creatures that died off tens of millions of years ago, there’s still room for skepticism.
Stephen Brusatte, a tyrannosaur expert at the University of Edinburgh and a National Geographic Society grantee, told NatGeo that he wouldn’t be surprised if the T. rex shed feathers over time, but that it would be premature to say they were completely featherless.
“It takes very special circumstances to preserve soft tissues like feathers, and as far as we know, these big tyrannosaurs are not preserved in those settings,” he told the magazine.
And so, our ever-evolving understanding of the T. rex continues to keep us on our toes.