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Biol Lett. 2017 Jun;13(6). pii: 20170092. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2017.0092.

Tyrannosauroid integument reveals conflicting patterns of gigantism and feather evolution.

Author information

1
University of New England, Armidale 2351, New South Wales, Australia pbell23@une.edu.au.
2
Palaeobiology Programme, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villavägen 16, SE 75236 Uppsala, Sweden.
3
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6E 4S6.
4
Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, Inc., Hill City, SD 57745, USA.
5
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada.
6
Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Abstract

Recent evidence for feathers in theropods has led to speculations that the largest tyrannosaurids, including Tyrannosaurus rex, were extensively feathered. We describe fossil integument from Tyrannosaurus and other tyrannosaurids (Albertosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Gorgosaurus and Tarbosaurus), confirming that these large-bodied forms possessed scaly, reptilian-like skin. Body size evolution in tyrannosauroids reveals two independent occurrences of gigantism; specifically, the large sizes in Yutyrannus and tyrannosaurids were independently derived. These new findings demonstrate that extensive feather coverings observed in some early tyrannosauroids were lost by the Albian, basal to Tyrannosauridae. This loss is unrelated to palaeoclimate but possibly tied to the evolution of gigantism, although other mechanisms exist.

KEYWORDS:

Tyrannosauridae; feathers; gigantism; skin

PMID:
28592520
PMCID:
PMC5493735
DOI:
10.1098/rsbl.2017.0092
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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