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RE: T. rex preys on Triceratops sculpture updated (Feathers)

> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Michael Lovejoy
> Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2004 1:27 PM
> To: DML
> Subject: RE: T. rex preys on Triceratops sculpture updated (Feathers)
> Lawrence Dunn wrote of Sean Cooper's Sculpt: "No feathers on his
> T. rex though -- yet."
> Okay, as a very confused sculptor/artist myself can we have this
> resolved: what's the current consensus? Feathers for T-rex or not?
> I was under the impression that scaly skin had been found for rex
> and for Tarbosaurus. So what's going on?
Do NOT fall for the false dichotomy of "either it had feathers, or it had
scales". After all, there is no animal alive today that has feathers but
lacks scales or scutes or some other non-feather integument!!

Right now we have zero (0) idea of the precise pattern of integument on T.
rex or Tarbosaurus or the like. Every (all) restorations will likely be
incorrect. That's life (or, more to the point, extinction) for you. You
can't possibly get it precisely right, because we do not yet have a way to
judge what "right" is!

That being said, we now have additional confirmation that the ancestors of
the tyrannosaurids had protofeathers. To assume that all protofeathers had
disappeared in Tyrannosauridae is to infer an evolutionary change for which
we have zero evidence. To play it safe, it might be best to put some fuzz on

As has been argued a lot before, there are reasons to think that a fully
adult tyrannosaurid would greatly reduce the area of its body covered with
fuzz. So be creative, and accept the fact that what you create might well be
overturned on the lucky chance (Oh, Happy Day!) that we get a complete skin
impression in appropriate sediments of multiple growth stages of
Tyrannosaurus rex.

P.S. What the patches of skin (and so far, all I have seen or heard of are
small patches) from tyrannosaurids do demonstrate is that at least SOME of
the surface was scaled.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
        Mailing Address:
                Building 237, Room 1117
                College Park, MD  20742

Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796