Everyone loves dinosaurs! The CBC reports
(http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/04/04/technology-feathered-tyrannosaur.html) on a new species of Tyrannosaur (yes, related to the massive Tyrannosaurus Rex) that was found in China (the full article is published in this week’s issue of Nature (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v484/n7392/full/nature10906.html)). The amazing part about this find is that this is one of the largest dinosaurs ever found with feathers! The 9 m long fossil tyrannosaur, called Yutyrannus huali, has long filamentous structures up to 20 cm in length, and would have been similar to the fuzzy feathers found on a baby chick. Yutyrannus huali lived in the early Cretaceous, a period of time when that area of China had temperatures averaging 10°C (compared to the Cretaceous average of 18°C at that latitude). The researchers surmise that both the large size of Yutyrannus huali and the growth of feathers were an adaptation to cold climates, similar to what happened to mammals in high latitudes during the past 5 million years (i.e. woolly mammoths). Conversely, the researchers say that if the feathers were only restricted to certain parts of the body, they could be purely for decoration.