Beautiful feathered tyrant
Posted on 06 April 2012
Yutyrannus, by Brian Choo
I love dinosaurs. I always have. My parents would drag me to church as a child and I would spend the entire time kneeling on the floor and drawing on the wooden pew. Drawing dinosaurs.
When I was six my grandmother thought there was something seriously wrong with me, and pleaded with my parents to take me to a psychologist, which my parents, being young and inexperienced at the parenting game, did. The psychologist talked with me, and watched me draw dinosaurs. She was quite impressed when she watched me correctly label each dinosaur with names like Parasaurolophus and Tyrannosaurus and Pachycephalosaurus. The psychologist turned to my parents and said, "There is nothing wrong with your son. He's a six year old boy that likes to draw dinosaurs."
I thought dinosaurs were pretty cool back then, but my fascination has only grown over the years. Even in my lifetime the scientific view has shifted from slow, plodding monsters that had to sit in water all day to support their bulk to dynamic, warm-blooded animals that brooded on nests and were covered with feathers.
My interest in birds stemmed form that early interest in dinosaurs, and the fact that theropod dinosaurs gave rise to birds is tremendously exciting. The ongoing dinosaur discoveries in China continue to amaze. Just yesterday it was announced that a 30-foot-long dinosaur had been found in China's Liaoning Province– and it was covered in feathers, some up to 6 inches long. Yutyrannus huali ("beautiful feathered tyrant") is the largest feathered animal yet discovered. Some scientists think Yutyrannus may be an ancestor of Tyrannosaurus Rex. Could the mighty T.Rex have been covered in feathers? It's a possibility.
It's a good thing I didn't draw feathers on my T.Rex as a child. They would have thought I was nuts.