If the upcoming movie Dinosaur Island has one feature that stands out before it hits theaters, it is that the film will be one of the first to feature feathered avian dinosaurs, as the fluffy T. Rex in the trailer reveals.
As io9 notes, certain fossil evidence has indicated recently that some of our favorite dinosaurs may not have actually appeared the way we’re used to seeing them in movies like Jurassic Park. The discovery of two Tyrannosaurs, Dilong and Yutyrannus, reveal the presence of feathers, over 10 cm long on Yutyrannus, as The Inquisitr previously noted.
Other fossils, however, point to a scaly skin covering Tyrannosaurs, an appearance to which many movie fans are accustomed. These dinosaurs may have been feathered in youth, losing their coating with age, or may have existed in a state much like compsognathids, with feathers existing only on parts of their body, but persisting into adulthood.
Dinosaur Island approaches the question from a scientific standpoint, revealing several species of feathered, avian dinosaurs. As Dread Central notes, the film revolves around a young boy who finds himself stranded on an island where items and creatures from various time periods have been drawn together by a mysterious force. As depicted in the movie’s first trailer, this includes a fluffy, feathered T. Rex.
— Koprolitos (@Koprolitos) September 20, 2014
When asked about their scientifically accurate dinosaurs, the social media team for Dinosaur Island explained the paleontological views that informed the film.
“Our Tyrannosaur is more about character (no our dinosaurs don’t talk 😉 ). Having worked with Jack Horner, Luis Chiappe and a range of palaeontologists on all sorts of documentaries and exhibits, one thing is irrefutable… none agrees with the other. It’s an ever evolving science and new discoveries trump old theories almost weekly. Hopefully what we have created sparks the imagination and provides entertainment.”
As ABC Perth points out, the 1996 discovery of a feathered dinosaur fossil in China shook the foundations of paleontology, cementing the relationship between dinosaurs and birds. The theory linking the two had only been advanced in the decades prior, according to John Pickrell, author of Flying Dinosaurs and the editor of Australian Geographic.
“Twenty or thirty years before that experts had come to think that birds and dinosaurs were very closely related but nobody ever thought we’d find a dinosaur fossil that was covered in feathers and that’s what was found with Sinosauropteryx. It had a fuzzy fringe of feathers all over it. We now think these feathers were used for insulation – this animal wouldn’t have been able to fly, it had a downy covering of feathers.”
Dinosaur Island’s media team have also invited fans to contribute feathered dinosaur art, as they find the various permutations of the concept to be particularly engaging.
[Image via Movielizer]