Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Follow up: Did T. rex have feathers?

Sue the T. rex
The largest and one of the most complete T. rex skeletons ever found.
Image Source: Wikipedia

Dear readers, you will never guess what happened!

After I published the previous post 'Did T. rex have feathers?' and posted the link on Twitter I got a response that I hadn't expected.

A tweet from the BBC Earth's Walking With Dinosaurs @walkwithdinos:

"@barkersaur It's *quite* the talking point amongst our Facebook fans... Here's our take though, by Steve Brusatte:"

If you follow the link you will notice immediately that both our articles begin with... the same picture! Which is amusing, and also a pleasant discovery.

A quick background on Steve Brusatte:

Steve is a vertebrate palaeontologist from Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History. He is particularly interested in theropod dinosaurs. He has authored many papers and three books. One of which I own, Dinosaur Palaeobiology, edited by the eminent Professor Michael J. Benton. It is the text book on Dinosaurs if you want to get into the nitty gritty details.

Steve's article 'Did T. rex have feathers?' (yes, we chose the same titles too) is well worth reading as it discusses:

  • Why fossils with feathers are precious and unique
  • Another fossil relative of T. rex that had feathers (Dilong)
  • Other dinosaurs that had feathers
  • Where T. rex may have had its feathers

I enjoy the way he finishes his article with a hopeful thought:

"Maybe someday we can test this hypothesis by finding a rare fossil of T. rex that was fossilised in that set of perfect conditions for preserving feathers."

Wouldn't that be wonderful? I am not certain if the rock we normally find T. rex fossils in is likely to preserve feathers, but we can dream.

If you put  'feathered t rex' into google images you will enjoy the varied and amazing artistic interpretations!

One of the many interpretations of how T. rex might have looked
Image Source: Deviant Art

How do you picture T. rex? Are feathers too hard to imagine? What colours should T. rex be?

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