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 T-rex was scaly after all, study finds

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PostSubject: T-rex was scaly after all, study finds   Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:27 am

Came across this. Very interesting, to say the least.

Tyrannosaurus rex was an odd animal, a predator with teeth the size of bananas, a massive head and tiny arms. Given that many dinosaurs had feathers, could T. rex have been even weirder — a giant carnivore with a downy coat?

A new study in the journal Biology Letters crushes any tyrant chicken dreams: T. rex was covered in scales. The new research “shows without question that T. rex had scaly skin,” study author Phil R. Bell, a paleontologist at Australia's University of New England, said in an email to The Washington Post.

When T. rex first appeared in pop culture, as in 1918 film “The Ghost of Slumber Mountain,” the dinosaur had wrinkled skin and stood upright, dragging its tail. Scientists began dismantling this reptilian misconception in the late 1960s, and in 1993's “Jurassic Park,” a fairly accurate, horizontal T. rex menaced the silver screen.

The dino image changed again in the past few decades, as evidence for feathered species accumulated. Two tyrannosauroids, Dilong and Yutyrannus — relatives that predated T. rex by some 50 million years — were covered in feathers. As for T. rex, artists drew ferocious and fluffy concept art. One museum gave its animatronic T. rex plumage.

But this was putting the quill before the fossil. “With all the hype about feathered theropods, it's easy to forget that actually most dinosaurs had scaly, reptilian-like skin,” Bell said. (Theropod dinosaurs included tyrannosaurs and many other two-legged dinosaurs as well as bird ancestors.)

Bell and his colleagues examined skin from T. rex and four relatives from fairly late in tyrannosaur history: Albertosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Gorgosaurus and Tarbosaurus. Tyrannosaur skin is rare, Bell said, in part because paleontologists historically favored smashing through skin to get to bones.

From these skin patches, representing the tyrannosaur abdomen, chest, pelvis, neck and tail, the researchers found nothing but scales. If feathers existed, they did so only along the animals' back or spines.

“This doesn't rule out feathers on even the biggest tyrannosaurs,” said University of London paleontologist David Hone, who was not involved in the research, “but does suggest they lacked a full coat of feathers.”

The scientists propose several hypotheses for why T. rex was not covered in feathers, unlike its earlier relatives. “Probably the sexiest option is gigantism,” Bell said. Feathered Dilong was the size of a large dog. T. rex was about the length of a city bus. “Big animals have trouble shedding excess heat, so being covered in feathers is not a good idea unless you live somewhere cold.” Elephants, for instance, are not as furry as mice.

But Yutyrannus, though not quite as big as T. rex, was no pooch. “The problem here is that we have big tyrannosaurs, some with feathers, some without that live in pretty similar climates,” Bell said. “So what's the reason for this difference? We really don't know.”


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/06/06/tyrannosaurus-rex-had-scaly-skin-and-wasnt-covered-in-feathers-a-new-study-says/?utm_term=.ca62ce54aaee
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PostSubject: Re: T-rex was scaly after all, study finds   Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:58 am

Since Jurassic Park's T. rexes were based on the most accurate portrayal of Tyrannosaurus at the time, does that mean the refuting of the feathered T. rex mean that life is now imitating art? Either way you look at it, it's a nice revelation that I'm sure many oldschool T. rex fans (myself included) are happy to see!

Though, I do feel a pang of sympathy for all the dinosaur artists who were in the middle of drawing feathered T. rexes when this news hit. That's gotta be awkward now. Good artwork is still good artwork and many paleo-artists made the feathered Rex image work well, but fate has a way of flipping things over.

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PostSubject: Re: T-rex was scaly after all, study finds   Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:30 am

@BarrytheOnyx wrote:
Since Jurassic Park's T. rexes were based on the most accurate portrayal of Tyrannosaurus at the time, does that mean the refuting of the feathered T. rex mean that life is now imitating art? Either way you look at it, it's a nice revelation that I'm sure many oldschool T. rex fans (myself included) are happy to see!

Though, I do feel a pang of sympathy for all the dinosaur artists who were in the middle of drawing feathered T. rexes when this news hit. That's gotta be awkward now. Good artwork is still good artwork and many paleo-artists made the feathered Rex image work well, but fate has a way of flipping things over.

Yeah, absolutely. This should make many t-rex fans happy, although myself I don't really care either way. I'm just interested in what the animal really looked like in real life, but it does seem that now life is now imitating art, as they say Smile
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PostSubject: Re: T-rex was scaly after all, study finds   Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:44 am

TL;DR: We still don't really know if T. rex had any feather covering, but this research study claims it to be unlikely based on its skin impressions and those of closely related relatives.

It's important to note that this does not refute the idea of T. rex having feathers. It simply claims that it is unlikely, and that T. rex and related large Tyrannosaurs were likely to be at least almost entirely scaly.

Personally, while I find feathered depictions of Tyrannosaurus rex rather fun to look at, I prefer scaly depictions more.

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PostSubject: Re: T-rex was scaly after all, study finds   Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:37 am

We don't have enough skin samples from T. rex to cover a school desk. This is sensationalist clickbait.

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PostSubject: Re: T-rex was scaly after all, study finds   Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:53 pm

@CT-1138 wrote:
We don't have enough skin samples from T. rex to cover a school desk. This is sensationalist clickbait.

Not only that, but T. rex skin samples, which are from Wyrex, are still a fairly new discovery.

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PostSubject: Re: T-rex was scaly after all, study finds   Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:59 pm

@CT-1138 wrote:
We don't have enough skin samples from T. rex to cover a school desk. This is sensationalist clickbait.

Very much agreed. This is being used right now as ammo to the extent of 'take that feather lovers', and honestly I do not think that most of the people who spread this really take the time to read all of it.

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PostSubject: Re: T-rex was scaly after all, study finds   Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:40 am

@CT-1138 wrote:
We don't have enough skin samples from T. rex to cover a school desk. This is sensationalist clickbait.

Maybe you should read the article, it talks about those patches of skin, and specifically says it doesn't rule out that even the largest tyrannosaurs had feathers. I don't think the Washington Post is into dinosaur click-bait, but what do I know. Those of you who suggest I didn't take the time to read this should stop shooting the messenger. I only said I came across the article and found it interesting. If tyrannosaurus rex turned out to heave feathers it would make absolutely no difference to me. I'm only interested in knowing more about the actual, real-life animal. Maybe some of you should take a gander at my avatar.
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PostSubject: Re: T-rex was scaly after all, study finds   Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:18 pm

I did read the article. Still clickbait. It's a journalistic fact that people who read to the bottom of the article are the exception, not the rule, and putting some disclaimer at the bottom doesn't negate the "Tyrannosaurus was scaly not feathered" headline in big bold letters that EVERYONE is going to see. There's a reason why journalistic writing always puts the most important information in the first paragraph. It also doesn't negate the fact that this isn't a well written scientific article. Considering this is the Washington Post, a journal that's known for its political news, and not, say, Scientific American, I absolutely wouldn't doubt they'd throw in some clickbait article like this. Science is generally poorly covered by the average journalist, and this article is pretty standard by newspaper standards of science journalism. And I say that as both a journalist and a scientist. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: T-rex was scaly after all, study finds   Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:13 pm


'Nuff said

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PostSubject: Re: T-rex was scaly after all, study finds   Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:53 am

@Océane wrote:

'Nuff said

Have you read Witton's "Revenge of the scaly Tyrannosaurus" ( http://markwitton-com.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/revenge-of-scaly-tyrannosaurus.html )?
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