Dexel the Dilong

Meet Dexel, one of 8 members of our Tyrannosaurs exhibition family.

Dexel the Dilong

 © Australian Museum

Labeled as the ‘emperor dragon’, Dexel the Dilong is the second in line to the tyrannosaurs throne after his relative Crichton the Guanlong. Born in north-eastern Asia within the Liaoning region of China, Dexel is a playboy at heart who can pull the dino-babes in with a swagger and a wink. A lot of his charm with the ladies probably comes from his colourful feathered coat.

Dexel was the first in the family to show the world that tyrannosaurs could pull off the ‘feathered’ look when he was discovered in his neighbourhood covered in down (or protofeathers). While these fluffy feathers are useless for flying, Dexel’s fuzzy coat is probably great at keeping him cosy in the cold weather that can settle within the heavily forested Liaoning area.

While Dexel’s short legs and fuzzy coat may make him sound cute as pie, don’t be fooled into thinking he can’t be just as vicious and tough as his other relatives. In fact, while the rest of his family like to tease him by calling him ‘fluffy’ and ‘pint-sized’, his long arms and three-fingered grasping hands actually make him a formidable hunter of birds, mammals and lizards.

See Dexel at the exhibition

Fast facts about Dexel

  • Name means 'emperor dragon'
  • From north-eastern Asia (Liaoning, China)
  • Had a feathered coat
  • 'Feathered' coat was made of down (protofeathers)
  • Feathers were useless for flying but probably served the purpose of keeping warm in the cold weather
  • Had long arms and three-fingered grasping hands (made him a vicious predator)
  • Hunted birds, mammals and lizards
  • Length – up to 2 metres (tiny compared to T.rex)

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