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Museum Exhibit Shows How T. Rex Would've Looked Like With Feathers

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The undisputed kings of the Cretaceous period, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, are the stars of a new exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History.

The "T. rex: The Ultimate Predator" will feature life-size recreations and showcase the evolution of everyone's favorite carnivorous dinosaur. The exhibit promises to give visitors an "up-to-date" view of the prehistoric predators.

Covered In Feathers

One of the most exciting displays at the exhibit is an accurate and full-size reproduction of the T. rex complete with terrifying orange eyes, sharp teeth, and a head full of wispy feathers.

"We know that these animals were feathered because we found close relatives that were feathered," stated Mark Norell, the curator behind the exhibit and the museum's chairman of paleontology.

Norell was part of the team that discovered Dilong, the first tyrannosaur that had fossilized feather, in 2004. Now, experts believe that all tyrannosaurs had feathers while the smaller species, like Dilong, were covered in it.

From Fluffy To Killer

Also displayed in the exhibition are rather adorable T. rex hatchlings no bigger than a skinny turkey, with abnormally long arms, and coated in feathers.

The size of the hatchlings emphasized the rapid growth of the prehistoric predators. A juvenile would consume 140 pounds or about 63.5 kilograms per month.

"I guess the Atkins diet didn't work out," joked Gregory Erickson, a paleontologist from the Florida State University. He was consulted on the exhibition. "They were eating machines," he added.

By the time it reaches the age of 20, the creature would stand at about 12 to 13 feet (3.6 to 3.9 meters), with a span of 40 to 43 feet (12 to 13 meters) from snout to tail, and eigh 6 to 9 tons (5,500 to 8,000 kilograms).

As it grew larger, the T. rex also became stronger. Its jaw can crush its prey with 7,800 pounds of force —stronger than any living animal.

Experts also said that the short arms of the predators should not be underestimated. They are not fragile, according to Martin Schwabacher, an exhibition writer at the museum. He described the arms of the T. rex as "well-muscled" with joints that are mobile and robust bones. An adult T. rex probably used their arms to slash at prey that they have already knocked down.

The "T. rex: The Ultimate Predator" opens to the public on Monday, March 11, and will run until Aug. 9, 2020.

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