Step Away from the Fuzzy Tyrannosaur and Other News of the Week

T. Rex at the Boston Museum of Science, all dressed up for winter. (Photo Credit: Kasuga Sho)

Do These Feathers Make Me Look Fat?

Every winter, the Boston Museum of Science drapes a winter scarf around the neck of its model T. Rex. Turns out T. Rex may not have needed that winter scarf at all. This week news broke of a feathered tyrannosaur.

Now, this may not seem like news to you. After all, paleontologists have known that some dinosaurs sported feathers for a while now. This week’s announcement is significant because the dinosaur in question is a 3,000 pound ancestor of the T. Rex, named Yutyrannus huali (a Latin-Mandarin blend that means “beautiful feathered tyrant”). Yutyrannus is the largest feathered dinosaur ever discovered, prompting some paleontologists to reconsider their hypothesis that dinosaurs shed their feathers as they grew in size.

If the T. Rex did in fact sport fluffy down instead of scaly skin, I suppose the Museum of Science will have to update its model T. Rex again. In the meantime, in the interest of scientific authenticity, might we suggest replacing the T. Rex’s winter scarf with a fluffy feather boa?

Speaking of cuddly predators…

Did you know that the residents of Northampton, Massachusetts have been plagued by bears this spring? Apparently the mild winter has woken the bears up earlier than usual, and the town’s ready supply of half-eaten pizzas provides easier foraging than the local berry crop.

Say hello to the Easter Bilby

Haigh's Chocolate Bilby (Courtesy of Haigh's Chocolates)

Chocolate bunnies may be a fixture of Easter celebrations here in the U.S., but since 1991, the Foundation for a Rabbit-Free Australia has been working hard to retire the Easter Bunny in favor of the Easter Bilby. Once common in burrows around Australia, the bilby — a cute, rabbit-eared marsupial native to the region — has been pushed out of its habitat by, you guessed it, the not-so-native rabbit. Since their introduction to Australia some 200 years ago, rabbits have eaten the bilbies out of house and home. As a result the once ubiquitous bilby now numbers in the thousands.

Any Easter Bilby campaign worth its salt requires a chocolate mascot. Fortunately, chocolate makers Haigh’s Chocolates and Darrell Lea have happily signed on. Proceeds from the sale of their chocolate bilbies go to support anti-rabbit campaigns and other bilby re-introduction efforts.

So, what’s caught your eye this week?

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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2 Responses to Step Away from the Fuzzy Tyrannosaur and Other News of the Week

  1. Pingback: “Did dinosaurs have belly buttons?”: A Caterpickles Investigative Report | CATERPICKLES

  2. Pingback: Classic Caterpickles: “Did dinosaurs have belly buttons?”: A Caterpickles Investigative Report | CATERPICKLES

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