It’s not your father’s tyrannosaur: Yutyrannus huali, a newly discovered ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex, was covered from head to tail in downy feathers.
At 30 feet long and weighing 3,000 pounds, Y. huali wasn’t so large as T. rex, which came 60 million years later, but it’s the largest feathered tyrannosaur yet found. That such a big creature was feathered suggests its iconic descendant could have been similarly plumed.
The discovery provides “direct evidence for the presence of extensively feathered gigantic dinosaurs,” wrote paleontologists led by Xing Xu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in their description of the new dinosaur, published April 5 in Nature.
Okay, I get that scientists want to be exact, but if they can name species after Gary Larson, the creator of the Far Side, then surely they can come up with a more exciting name for a freakin’ tyrannosaur with feathers. Heck, the riptaylorsaurus rex would have more pizazz to it, even though folks above a certain age would be the only ones to get it. (Maybe call it Gagasaurus Rex or something.)
And that illustrates what’s wrong with physics and biology. It would be totally awesome if something like that could fly (breathing fire and shooting lasers from its eyes would be the greatest thing ever).
I’m not sure any name will be effective, most kids today don’t care about dinosaurs. I disagree that science needs to be made more fabulous - kind of like George Carlin’s character did with the chuch in this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BEZaPN8gUY. HILARIOUS! “Pop culturizing” science will run it into the ground IMO.