The holiday season is here, and fashion magazines and websites are once again filling up with “What To Wear” guides, ensuring that we don’t look overdressed on the festive family zoom call or turn up to the office Christmas party in our PJs. But all of them have overlooked one crucially important situation, as far as we’re concerned: what do you wear to a Christmas party if you’re a 70-million-year-old, 7,000-kilogram superpredator?
Luckily, the Natural History Museum in London is here to save the day. Their true-to-scale animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex recently got a festive makeover with the addition of a custom-made, frankly enormous, Christmas sweater.
“There is nothing more funny than a jumper fitted for a dinosaur that has the tiniest arms in the world,” Carla Treasure, a buyer and product developer at the museum, told the New York Times. “I think it makes it slightly less scary.”
Despite what a certain movie franchise may have us believe, Tyrannosaurus Rex did not live in any kind of Jurassic Park. T. Rex lived in the Cretaceous period, about 50 million years after the end of the Jurassic. That means they would be used to much higher temperatures than we are today, so it makes sense that a modern T. Rex would want a holiday sweater.
Unfortunately, his weeny little arms would make knitting pretty difficult, so the good people at the Natural History Museum enlisted the help of a local family-run firm to create the mega-sweater.
Appropriately for the Natural History Museum, the sweater boasts some solid eco-friendly credentials. It is knitted from 100 percent recycled yarn, made from post-consumer waste cotton and polyester from locally recycled plastic bottles.
“We've never done anything like this,” Snahal Patel, director of the company behind the Christmassy garb, told the BBC. “My dad's never done anything like this and he's been in this business for 35 to 40 years.”
The idea for the sweater came after a tough year for the museum, whose visitor numbers have dwindled during the pandemic. While the original idea was to make and sell holiday jumpers for comparatively puny humans, Patel told the New York Times that he suggested that they go “a bit bigger” and “just put a Christmas jumper on a dinosaur.”
He may have regretted that suggestion: the jumper took his staff 100 hours to complete, per the BBC, and weighs about the same as twelve human sweaters. Actually dressing the dinosaur was quite the challenge too, requiring a whole team equipped with ladders and tape measures. Eventually, the only way to get the sweater over the T. Rex’s scientifically-accurate gigantic noggin was to put in a zip down the back, making the garment impossible for a real Tyrannosaurus to get on or off itself with those teeny arms (presumably the Natural History Museum knew this, which makes it quite the power move on their part.)
Copies of the sweater are available for purchase both online and in the museum gift shop, albeit in sizes fit for adult and juvenile humans rather than dinosaurs. And the best part? A sweater won’t just leave you looking snazzy – it’ll get you on Santa’s nice list too.
“It's been a really, really challenging year for heritage and visitor attractions and we really wanted to do something which would generate interest,” Treasure told the BBC. “All the proceeds from the sale of these jumpers goes back to supporting the museum, not only for its pioneering research but also caring for its 80m specimens.”