Why The T-Rex Looks Hairy in Jurassic World Dominion
Jurassic World: Dominion's prologue features dinosaurs living naturally during the Cretaceous period and shows a hairy T-rex. Here's why.
There's a hairy Tyrannosaurus rex in Jurassic World: Dominion’s prologue, which is notably different from how the dinosaur looked in past Jurassic Park films. In fact, there are multiple dinosaurs in the Jurassic World: Dominion prologue that appear to be hairy, but most of them are new to the franchise whereas the T-rex is a staple of the series. And the answer to why the T-rex and other dinosaurs are hairy in the upcoming film can be found in one of Jurassic Park's earliest values: scientific accuracy.
Jurassic World: Dominion’s prologue contains footage that won't appear in the actual film and is rather mean to offer a preview of what to expect. In the prologue, dinosaurs of all kinds go about their daily lives in the Cretaceous period; tri-horned Triceratops bathe in a river, long-necked Quetzalcoatlus fly around and fish, and a sneaky Oviraptor dines on a nest of abandoned eggs. Tension rises when a Tyrannosaurus rex picks a fight with an even stronger predator, a Giganotosaurus. Flashing forward 65 million years, another Tyrannosaurus is pursued by a helicopter from the US Fish and Wildlife Service through a drive-in movie theater, to the terror of the moviegoers.
Curiously, while the T-rex in the modern-day (the one originally seen in the first Jurassic Park movie) is still scaly, the T-rex in Jurassic World: Dominion's prologue has thin hair covering its body. It's likely that this isn't hair at all, but feathers; scientific evidence has shown that dinosaurs likely had feathers, just like their closest genetic relatives, birds. Since dinosaurs and birds derived from the same ancestral species, it's almost certain that all dinosaurs would have had some amount of feathers, even if only vestigial ones. As feathers are unable to be fossilized like bone, little proof for dinosaurs’ feathers was found until somewhat recently, explaining why the original Jurassic Park’s T-rex didn’t have feathers.
Other species in Jurassic World: Dominion’s prologue also exhibit feathers. The Oviraptor looks very much like a chicken as it dines away on some unfortunate dinosaur’s eggs, feathery plumes decorating its arms and tail. Though not dinosaurs but technically pterosaurs, the giant, flying Quetzalcoatlus exhibits feathers all over its head and down its back. It appears the feathers on the past Tyrannosaurus rex were not merely a novel aesthetic, but a use of scientific evidence to inform the creature design in Jurassic World: Dominion. This harkens back to the original Jurassic Park, in which the movements of the dinosaurs were based on birds rather than other reptiles, as per scientific theory.
The difference in appearance between the two Tyrannosaurus rexes in Jurassic World: Dominion’s prologue poses a new question, however: Why doesn’t the modern-day T-rex have feathers, too? As mentioned in both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, the DNA of dinosaurs, retrieved from preserved blood in ancient mosquitos, isn't pure; DNA from other animals was used to complete the genetic code, such as frog DNA, producing a genome for the closest approximation of dinosaurs. It's possible that the genetic information for feathers wasn't preserved, being replaced with something different. The modern version of the T-rex in Jurassic World: Dominion may not be a true, feathery dinosaur, but it's very much a functional equivalent.