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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


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:iconcommanderblush:
Commanderblush Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2018  Student Filmographer
This is my favorite depiction of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Very well done!!
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:iconkhandle:
Khandle Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"WE DON'T KNOW!"

Yes, thank you. This is the correct answer. At the moment, they could be either.
Also, hadn't heard about that blubbery possibility before. Cool, and cute. Sot of like the really old, pot-bellied plastic Marks T. Rex toy, not the posture or tail dragging, of course:
www.dinosaur-toys-collectors-g…
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:iconinkalill:
Inkalill Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2018
Interesting, rhinoceros skin can be up to 5 cm thick, a dinosaur could surely match that. Thank you for information, and for the great image!
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:iconblomman87:
Blomman87 Featured By Owner Edited Dec 16, 2017
 What do you mean we only have some small patches there is atleast 14 patches of tyrannosaurid surface imprint and one of them is in size of 4,72 inches.    And recent discovery made by Scott Persons  shows another tyrannosaurid scaly patch 11 cm.
The osteological evidence suggests that tyrannosaurids bore flat scales, armor-like skin, and keratin sheaths on the face, whereas the fossil evidence shows that the rest of the body was covered in small scales. Ancestrally, tyrannosauroids were feathery; the loss of feathers occurred somewhere along the line between Dilong and the common ancestor of tyrannosaurids that is what the fossil records telling us as we speak.   

Do we not use the fossil record as evidence or do we make conclusions by imaginations?    The null hypothetis is established atleast.
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:iconbatterymaster:
Batterymaster Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2017  Student General Artist
Sue's a stripper, and this is how she looks when she's on the job.
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:iconwilliam023:
william023 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2017
She really reminds me of that roaring sideshow model.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2017
 Now that's what I call a Queen of the Cretaceous!:happybounce: 
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:iconfrancismoncayo1991:
FrancisMoncayo1991 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2017
Love it, may I suggest to include a scale on it?
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2017  Professional General Artist
Thanks, but what do you mean by scale?
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:iconjpguchiha:
JPGuchiha Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Is there any evidence that shows, with out a doubt, an adult T-rex had feathers?
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2017  Professional General Artist
No. Nor do we have that evidence of Tyrannosaurs rex. ;)

Seriously though, the sites that preserve Tyrannosaurus aren't known to preserve feathers, so even if they were present, we probably wouldn't be able to tell. This could turn out to be false in the future, but right now the best tyrannosaurid candidates for preserving feathers are Daspletosaurus and Gorgosaurus, known from the same sites as the feathered Ornithomimus fossils.
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:icon9weegee:
9Weegee Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
well Yutyrannus and Dilong seem to disprove the idea of a scaly rex, plus the scale impressions were very small and far between.

I should also note that Elephants are not a good comparison when comparing to Tyrannosaurus because feathers are a very different thing from fur, and Yutyrannus seemed to be identical to the ones found on Emus; animals that do not need shade to cool off, but their feathers can...somehow. so no, the scaly movie monster Tyrannosaurus is gone. sorry!
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2017  Professional General Artist
Yutyrannus does not disprove a mostly featherless Tyrannosaurus any more than mammoths disprove mostly hairless African elephants. You have to rely on data from Tyrannosauroids to be sure. We also can't use modern ratites as direct analogues because they don't live in the Maastrichtian climate, they don't have Tyrannosauroid metabolisms, we don't know for sure their feathers are structurally the same as Tyrannosaur feathers and most importantly, they are tiny and lanky compared to Tyrannosauroids. Even in modern birds, which are comparatively diminutive, partial or complete loss of feathers in certain regions like the head and neck and the feet is common in warmer climates. The more volume an animal has in relation to its surface area, the more effort it takes for it to cool down.
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:iconviktorangel1:
viktorangel1 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2017
Also mammoths and elephants are more related than t.rex and yutyrannus, elephant and mammoth belong to the same family. 
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:iconjpguchiha:
JPGuchiha Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
"No. Nor do we have that evidence of Tyrannosaurs rex." What do you mean by that? Was that a joke?
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2017  Professional General Artist
T-rex is a movie monster based on Tyrannosaurus rex. "T-rex" the name was supposedly thought up because people holding the Jurassic Park lisence couldn't trademark actual scientific names of organisms, which also ruled out using the proper abbreviation 'T. rex'.
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:iconjpguchiha:
JPGuchiha Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Fair enough.
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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.
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: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
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: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!
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: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...
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: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
:icontigrexrage:
TigrexRage Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice art, but these studies were disproved by TreytheExplainer
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: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 Nov 15, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
actually, nobody should trust them
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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?
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: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. 
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: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.
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Summer temperatures don't usually drop, broly.
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: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
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: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.
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:iconspinoinwonderland:
It was over a period of ~300 millennia.
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
A summer does not last 300millennia
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(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.
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