The T-Rex May Have Looked Different Than First Thought, According To New Museum Exhibit

The American Museum of Natural History has a sculpture that shows the creature covered in feathers with bird-like haunches.

Close-up of the head of a roaring dinosaur
Yuri_B / Pixabay

The American Museum of Natural History has a sculpture that shows the creature covered in feathers with bird-like haunches.

A new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City have a type of Tyrannosaurus rex sculpture you’ve never seen before, Gizmodo is reporting. At the museum’s newest exhibit, entitled “T. rex: The Ultimate Predator,” you’ll see a dinosaur statue that is thought to be true to size but with some differences from the initially imagined creature. Not only does this version appear thinner with its legs raised higher on its haunches, but it also has feathers. Tufts of feathers run along the T. rex’s spine and surround his head, which is thought to be a more accurate depiction of the creature than the one you might have seen in Jurassic Park.

After further investigation and making new discoveries, scientists are now in agreement that some dinosaurs likely had feathers like a bird. The first fossilized remains of a feathered dinosaur were found in China in 2004. Mark Norell, who was part of the team that discovered this fossil, is also the curator of the T. rex exhibit and chair of the museum’s paleontology department.

“No one has found a fossil feather on a T. rex, but we’ve found more relatives of T. rex with feathers, so we can infer it,” Norell explained.

Indeed, more and more research is being done to help us get a fuller picture of the creatures that roamed the earth millions of years before us. Norell says that a mere decade ago, only seven or eight complete skeletons could be formed with the fossils they had gathered. Now, there are around 40 skeletons. With the advancement of various technologies, we are learning more and more information about the creatures that alter the assumptions that were typically had about dinosaurs.

For instance, after examining the T. rex’s cranial structure, scientists now believe the creature didn’t have a ferocious roar like once believed. Instead, it likely made a crocodile-like bellow. While this may make the T. rex seem less intimidating, don’t be fooled — the T. rex has been discovered to be smarter than the typical tyrannosaurus thanks to the use of 3D scanning and modeling and are thought to have had a strong vision and sense of smell — in other words, it’s not likely a human would have been able to outwit and hide from these massive creatures. Combined with its bone-crushing bite force of almost 8,000 pounds — discovered by biomechanical modeling of its head and chemical analysis of its fossilized feces — this extinct creature remains intimidating, even with feathers!

The new exhibit will open to the public on Monday, March 11. There are plans to have it tour other cities after finishing its run at the American Museum of Natural History.