Jun 7, 2017

T. Rex may have been covered in scales not feathers

Peter Larson

Did the Tyrannosaurus rex have feathers, as some scientists have wondered in recent years? No, says a new study. Unlike some of its feathered ancestors, the T. rex was covered in scales.

The discovery: Scientists found fossilized, scaly skin on the T. rex and other tyrannosaur species in North America and Asia, a strong challenge to the idea that T. rex w was covered in feathers like some of its ancestors. "(This) shows without question that T. rex had scaly skin," Phil Bell, a paleontologist at Australia's University of New England, told The Washington Post.

One big question: If its ancestors had feathers, why did the T. rex evolve with scales as it became Earth's apex predator 70 million years ago? The researchers propose it may have been the dinosaurs' large size: bigger bodies can more easily maintain a constant body temperature and feathers could have trapped unwanted heat.

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Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post on Feb. 28, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health