I’m delighted to announce that my second book written in collaboration with palaeontologist Adam Smith is published in paperback today. The Tyrannosaur’s Feathers is brilliantly illustrated by Stieven Van der Poorten and published by UCLan Publishing.

The book takes an amusing and informative look at how new discoveries have transformed our understanding of the appearance of Tyrannosaurus rex, arguably the most famous of all the dinosaurs.

The main text is a conversation between a bossy, know-it-all Velociraptor and a T. rex she performs a makeover on. Following a similar format to The Plesiosaur’s Neck, the dinosaurs’ dialogue is supplemented with info boxes outlining the evidence justifying the changes to T. rex’s appearance.

The extent of these changes is illustrated by these two T. rex models. The one on the left is an Imperial Toys, T. rex, first produced in 1985. The one on the right is a Wild Safari Prehistoric World T. rex model, first produced in 2017.

Possibly the most dramatic change is the addition of feathers. T. rex is a member of the theropod group of dinosaurs, which also includes modern birds.  Fossils showing that prehistoric theropods had feathers were first found in China in the 1990s. Since then the fossils of “thousands of feathered dinosaurs have been discovered” including a fossil of another tyrannosaur called Yutyrannus.  So, it’s reasonable to think that T. rex may also have been feathered. We don’t currently know what colour T. rex was but, as new methods of scientific analysis are developed and new fossils are discovered, it’s possible that we may know this in the future.

The book’s Belgian illustrator Stieven Van der Poorten specialises in prehistoric animals, but this is Stieven’s first picture book and he’s adapted to the format brilliantly under the guidance of the book’s designer Becky Chilcott.

The book has already received some good reviews, including these:

“This engrossing, non-fiction title beautifully demonstrates the dynamic nature of scientific understanding to young readers.”

“An amusing and well-crafted book. … It’s going to be essential reading for young dinosaur fans.”

Read more of these and other reviews

Here’s a trailer for the book:

You can download activity sheets for the book by clicking on the images below.

And you can order the book from your local bookshop or by using the sales link below.

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