The fluffy and the furious

Published on May 8th, 2012
The fluffy and the furious

He may have been the fiercest dinosaur in town about 65 million years ago, but the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex might have looked a whole lot cuter and more cuddly than we thought…

Who’s afraid of the big, bad T-Rex? Pretty much everyone… But do you think you’d find this dinosaur quite so scary if he was soft and fluffy instead of green and scaly? Well, according to scientists, he might have been…

Meet T-Rex’s cousin
A few months ago, a 125-million-year-old fossilized relative of the T-Rex was discovered in north-eastern China. It’s called Yutyrannus huali, which means “beautiful feathered tyrant”, and it seems to have roamed the Earth about 60 million years before our friend the T-Rex. And according to scientists, it had a coat of fluffy down that would have felt like “thick, long fur”… if you were brave enough to touch it, that is. The meat-eating monster was 10 metres long and weighed about a ton, and we’re guessing it wasn’t very friendly…

What does this say about T-Rex?
Other than being a really cool discovery, this new dinosaur got experts thinking: if a relative of the T-Rex was covered in feathers, then who’s to say T-Rex wasn’t too? Until now, only smaller dinosaurs were thought to have sported primitive feathers, but Yutyrannus has shown once and for all that even the big, bad guys can have a softer (out)side.

But here’s a word of advice: if you happen to travel 65 million years back in time and you bump into a fluffy-looking T-Rex, don’t be fooled… feathers or no feathers, this powerful giant will be just as likely to eat you for lunch.