Yutyrannus Huali: Tyrannosaurus Rex's Giant Feathered Dinosaur Cousin Discovered In China

Dan Evon

When most people picture a Tyrannosaurs Rex they picture a giant creature with scaly skin, tiny arms, and huge scary teeth. But ever since the Yutryannus Hauli, a giant feathered dinosaur, was discovered in China scientists have been rethinking the classic image of the T. Rex.

Was the T. Rex feathered?

Xing Xu of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, said that the discovery of the Yutryannus Hauli is not definitive proof that the T. Rex had feathered but the dinosaur has started a conversation about how widespread feathers were on meat-eating dinosaurs.

Xu said:

"(It is) possible that feathers were much more widespread, at least among meat-eating dinosaurs, than most scientists would have guessed even a few years ago. The discovery of (Yutyrannus Huali) provides direct evidence for the presence of extensively feathered gigantic dinosaurs (and offers new) insights into early feather evolution.”

Xu and his team are not sure about the purpose of the feathers but offered two theories in journal Nature. Xu believes that the feathers either provided insulation for the dinosaur or they functioned as display plumage. Either way, Mark A. Norell, a curator of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, said it's a great time to be studying dinosaurs.

Norell said:

“The feathered dinosaurs show how the whole conception of dinosaurs has really changed in the last 15 years. This is a great time to be a dinosaur paleontologist.”