Dinosaur researchers continue to go back and forth about what dinosaurs might have looked like back in the day, and it’s pretty safe to say that no one really knows because they’ve been gone for so long.
While dinosaur fossils and bones can tell us a lot about their bodily structure, they can’t tell us what the creature’s skin surface was like. We can’t figure out what color they were or whether they were feathered or scaled. For dinosaur researchers, not knowing the answers to these questions is like tickle torture going on in their overactive minds.
While there is fossilized evidence that some dinosaurs were probably indeed feathered, a new study published in the journal Biology Letters reveals conflicting evidence that Tyrannosaurus Rex might have actually had scaly skin like most reptiles of today, just as Jurassic Park depicts.
Image Credit: temprb0/Pixabay
The evidence comes by way of museum-kept fossilized skin samples from the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which provided a glimpse into the history of the creature’s skin features.
In addition to T. Rex, fossilized skin samples of other tyrannosaurid dinosaurs that existed during the same point of time in the Late Cretaceous period, such as Albertosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Gorgosaurus and Tarbosaurus all seemed to exhibit reptilian-like scaly skin.
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The theory goes against many that have been brought into light as of late, but the researchers involved in this study apparently captured fossilized evidence for the existence of scaly skin. Nevertheless, the conclusion of the study isn’t convincing everyone that we should jump to conclusions just yet.
So what may have happened that caused the major discrepancy in our record-keeping? That remains a mystery. On the other hand, some researchers believe that T. Rex may have lost its bird-like plumage over time and developed the scaly reptilian-like skin as it evolved.
Perhaps T. Rex’s ancestors all had plumage, but began to lose it after T. Rex became the modern predator. As a result, T. Rex never exhibited the feathers its ancestors did.
Another possible theory is that the skin samples that have been observed simply didn’t have any feather remnants because perhaps not all T. Rex dinosaurs had feathers, or perhaps they didn’t have them in the regions where the skin tissue was derived from.
In any case, it’s too early to come to an agreement about what dinosaurs actually looked like; there is solid evidence telling both sides of the story, and the only way we’re going to get to the bottom of things is to find more fossils that tell the story of the creatures that walked our ancient planet before dying off and passing the world onto us.