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Stocky Sue, Sans Feathers by Osmatar Stocky Sue, Sans Feathers by Osmatar
Did Tyrannosaurus rex have feathers? The answer may surprise you!

The answer is: WE DON'T KNOW! Surprised? You shouldn't be. We only have a few small patches of tyrannosaurid skin from different parts of the body described so far (Bell et al. 2017), and we don't really know much about the interplay of feathers and scales (or reticulae, if you want to get into specifics) in coelurosaurian theropods. While there are good reasons to believe some feathers were present on Tyrannosaurus, the possibility remains that it had, for whatever reason, completely given up feathers the same way large ornithopods seem to have done. 

However, you can't just simply replace all the feathers on old rexy and be done with it. Tyrannosaurus persisted in a climate with a mean annual temperature of about 11 °C,  which means it had to periodically deal with some unpleasantly cool temperatures for an uninsulated animal. How could scaly Sue survive in such an environment? The answer could be by getting fat. An insulating layer of blubber lets marine mammals to do without hair and appears to have enabled sauropterygians to thrive in frigid waters. Perhaps the scaly tyrannosaurids of yesteryear's paleoart aren't that inaccurate, they're just way too thin!

This illustration aims to portray Tyrannosaurus rex (based on the Sue specimen, from a skeletal drawing by ScottHartman) the way it might have looked if it lacked feathers entirely (there are still some short quill-like highly modified ones left on the neck and arms, perhaps for display purposes or to discourage biting). Of course in the case of Tyrannosaurus, the scales are probably modified feather as well. The small patches of skin from Tyrannosaurus specimens show that the scales were so small, you'd have to get very close to the animal to actually see them. The "lumpy" look of Sue's face is based on Carr et al. (2017), who mention correlates for armor-like skin on several parts of the skull in Daspletosaurus, a close relative and possibly even a direct ancestor of Tyrannosaurus. Though very plump, Sue still has some loose skin folds around the neck and torso, as these regions need to be able to stretch to allow the swallowing of large food items and to engorge on a kill, that would presumably produce an even more rotund creature (while the meal is being digested anyway). 

Sources/Further reading:
Bell et al. (2017) Tyrannosauroid integument reveals conflicting patterns of gigantism and feather evolution
Carr et al. (2017) A new tyrannosaur with evidence for anagenesis and crocodile-like facial sensory system
Arens and Allen (2014) A florule from the base of the Hell Creek Formation in the type area of eastern Montana: Implications for vegetation and climate


Add a Comment:
 
:iconjpguchiha:
JPGuchiha Featured By Owner 1 hour ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Is there any evidence that shows, with out a doubt, an adult T-rex had feathers?
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:icongamerwhit:
gamerwhit Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2017  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
So cute!
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2017  Professional General Artist
:D
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:iconwilliam023:
william023 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2017
... While I legitimately LOVE yutyrannus, I am secretly glad t.Rex itself had little to no feathers, if I'm bluntly honest, I'm glad SOME dinosaurs satisfied my throbbing nostalgia boner.
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:icondovahkiinhu3br:
Sweet!

PS: Sometimes the annual average temperatures are way lower than what the animals have to deal with most of the time, or at least in the hotter periods (Montana has an annual average temperature of 6 degrees Celcius, and the summers there can be kinda hot).
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2017  Professional General Artist
The Holocene typically has a high temperature gradient between seasons, while in the Cretaceous it seems seasonal variation was more subtle. Tyrannosaurus would have had to deal with less extremes, especially in the then much more widespread coastal areas.
Reply
:icondovahkiinhu3br:
DovahkiinHU3BR Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2017
Hmmm I indeed forgot about these aspects (kinda. I actually forgot about the second one because I did not know about the first one).

Thanks m8
Reply
:icononecanuck:
onecanuck Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love this for the description as much as the illustration. Thank you for including so much detail!
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2017  Professional General Artist
Thank you. :) I felt this was such a controversial polarizing subject right now that it was best to include the entire reasoning behind the illustration.
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:iconmoschops911:
moschops911 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2017
Nice work!
Reply
:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2017  Professional General Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconbraindroppings1:
Braindroppings1 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hmmm, interesting...
Reply
:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2017  Professional General Artist
:)
Reply
:iconcrazygeckos:
Crazygeckos Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2017
I think this is cool!I am so sick of the wars on this creature.i really wish spinosaurus was the one to be famous not trex because we would not be fighting about this bull crap.
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2017  Professional General Artist
Thanks! I fear that switching theropods wouldn't help at all, because then the fights would be over whether Spinosaurs was capable of quadrupedal locomotion, or what its integument was like, or how it could use its forelimbs, or how long its limbs actually were, or what the purpose of such a weirdly-shaped sail was or... etc. ad nauseam.
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:iconshrimpishshrimp11:
ShrimpishShrimp11 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017
Nude
Reply
:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2017  Professional General Artist
Nature is lewd.
Reply
:icon9weegee:
9Weegee Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
T rex would'nt have needed much insulation, especially feathers.

A study on the oxygen isotopes from a t rex bone suggests that t rex had higher blood temperatures in the summer, and lower ones in the winter, to mainly conserve energy and to keep warm. the more northern species would've also not needed to have filaments. So, yeah. T rex was probably most likley a Mesotherm
Reply
:icontigrexrage:
TigrexRage Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice art, but these studies were disproved by TreytheExplainer
Reply
:icon9weegee:
9Weegee Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Don't listen to Trey. He has many incorrect statements and lots of bias.
Reply
:icontigrexrage:
TigrexRage Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I will follow your advice, thanks for the feedback
Reply
:iconspinosaurus14:
Spinosaurus14 Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2017
Said Reinhard the belgian creationist.
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:icon9weegee:
9Weegee Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
No. Says many people in paleoworld.
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:iconanomally:
anomally Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2017
Cool drawing. So this is where Hutchinson's 9500 kg Sue model came from:), that extra winter bulk sure would insulate some late cretaceous cold alright. Man this guy looks almost twice as heavy as a typical bull elephant, what's your estimate on the mass?
Reply
:icon9weegee:
9Weegee Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
hell creek wasn't that cold, actually. it would've been a mostly subtropical enviornment. 
Reply
:iconspinoinwonderland:
SpinoInWonderland Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2017
Arens & Allen, 2014, "A florule from the base of the Hell Creek Formation in the type area of eastern Montana: implications for vegetation and climate"
pubs.geoscienceworld.org/books…

Tobin et al., 2014, "Paleogene boundary section in eastern Montana, USA, constrained by carbonate clumped isotope paleothermometry"
pubs.geoscienceworld.org/geolo…

Lower Hell Creek would have had a temperature estimated at close to ~10 degrees or lower, while the upper Hell Creek would have had summer temperatures drop by a further 8 degrees. That has to be pretty chilly.
Reply
:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Summer temperatures don't usually drop, broly.
Reply
:iconspinoinwonderland:
SpinoInWonderland Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017
They can if the climate overall cools down.

PS: Old username can cause confusion to newer viewers
Reply
:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Climates don't really cool down over a period of a few months tho.
Reply
:iconspinoinwonderland:
It was over a period of ~300 millennia.
Reply
:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
A summer does not last 300millennia
Reply
(1 Reply)
:icon9weegee:
9Weegee Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
If your terms of "Chilly" count to the Louisiana Bayous
Reply
:iconspinoinwonderland:
SpinoInWonderland Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017
You didn't even read the two papers I linked, didn't you? Otherwise, you wouldn't be spitting out that "Louisiana Bayous" claim.
Reply
:icon9weegee:
9Weegee Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
because they make no sense

"the PDM locality (UCMP [University of California Museum of Paleontology] PB99057 = MOR [Museum of the Rockies] HC-278) occurs in channel sandstones ~10 m above the underlying Fox Hills Formation. The locality represents a fluvial/estuarine environment. Leaf megafossil impressions were preserved on clay drapes within the channel. Angiosperms dominated the flora (13 of 17 morphotypes). "

How the fuck do I understand this shit?
Reply
:iconspinoinwonderland:
SpinoInWonderland Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017
The PDM locality occurs in sandstone 10 meters above the Fox Hills Formation. It represents an estuarine environment, meaning the mouth of a river. Leaf impressions were preserved in clay. Angiosperms or flowering plants dominate the flora.

There? It's not that hard once you know what the terms mean. You can, you know, use google or such to search what the words mean.
Reply
:icon9weegee:
9Weegee Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
But then why do people bitch in the comment section of a youtube video because the video did not use the metric system?
Reply
(1 Reply)
:icon9weegee:
9Weegee Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
also keep in mind that there are many animals in hell creek that are normally found in warm regions, like Borealsuchus. 

So after reading the papers, I'd say the weather would be similar to Little Rock, Arkansas
Reply
:iconspinoinwonderland:
The ectothermic critters in Hell Creek could probably be summer migrants, brummate or hibernate in the colder parts of the year (Chinese alligators get through cool climates by hibernating during winter), or somehow being able to adjust to colder climates than modern crocodilians, which isn't too farfetched since ectothermic marine iguanas were able to adapt to the cold Galapagos waters.

However, whatever the HC crocodilans were doing there to cope with the drop in temperature during the last 300 millennia, they were probably not thriving at that point.
Reply
:iconkronosaurus82:
Kronosaurus82 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2017  Professional Artist
I like this piece, sir. :)
Aside from this being a good illustration, I also think this is a deeply thought reconstruction. And that's a thing I value a lot. :)
Regardless of my opinion about the feathers matter, I think by collecting clues to build your own point of view you did the right thing, instead of just marrying what is the most common depiction of Tyrannosaurus nowadays. Good job. ;)
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2017  Professional General Artist
Thank you. :)
Reply
:icongorgosaurus:
Gorgosaurus Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2017
I like her stocky.
Spike.
Reply
:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2017  Professional General Artist
:D
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Edited Jul 6, 2017  Professional General Artist
Preaching to a choir, my dear.
Reply
:icondinomariozilla:
DinoMarioZilla Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, it always warms my heart to see chunky Rexes! Really love yours!
Reply
:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2017  Professional General Artist
Thanks! :)
Reply
:iconcrazygeckos:
Crazygeckos Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2017
So far it seems they dont have feathers on legs and their tail and their face and neck and only have proto-feathers every where else.

This is the most likely but i dont know :)
Reply
:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2017  Professional General Artist
It's possible that feathers (of some type) were present on the dorsal surface of the tail and neck as well as parts of the head, though we don't know for sure. There does not seem to be any indication that any filaments were present in the known scaly regions, though it could be preservational bias.
Reply
:iconcrazygeckos:
Crazygeckos Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2017
Yes that is correct only time will tell.
Reply
:iconmutantninja0:
mutantninja0 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Another beautiful rendition! Nothing better than a chunky rex, I say. The temperature in having a having a hand in leftover integument does strike me as odd though. Knowing that modern elephants frequent high altitudes where they may face sub zero temperatures, wouldn't an animal with nearly twice the weight fair much better in a warmer biome?
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