Like most people, we figured that we could learn all that there is to know about dinosaurs by watching Jurassic Park. They're big, they have scales, some of them can open doors. What more is there to know? But it turns out that these long-dead lizards still have many more ways to surprise us. Some more scientifically significant than others.
In Utah, a fascinating new type of ankylosaurid has been discovered that changes much of what we thought we knew about North American dinosaurs. What's so special about it is that, unlike all other ankylosauri native to the region, it sported spikes and cones on its armored head and snout, earning it the name akainacephalus, or "thorny head." In full, the creature is called Akainacephalus johnsoni after museum volunteer Randy Johnson.
Paleontologists managed to pull a remarkably complete fossil out of the Kaiparowits Formation in Utah, including an undamaged skull, already proving the effectiveness of its spike defences. Being able to study such a perfect skull reaffirmed for the researchers that this ankylosaur variant has little in common with its North American cousins. This led them to theorize that there were actually two separate groups of ankylosaurs living in North America, with these perhaps having schlepped it all the way from Asia via an ancient land bridge.
Yet even that fascinating theory of migratory practices could never explain another misplaced dinosaur discovered this week. A Tyrannosaurus rex was seen in its most unnatural habitat to date.
Oddly, this terrible lizard was discovered in the suburbs of Granbury, Texas, seemingly promoting the sale of a two-bedroom lake house. In the photos of the official listing, this King Lizard of real estate, or Realtorsaurus rex, is shown engaging in some unusual reptilian behavior in order to adapt to the crushing climate of the housing market. Here it can be seen protecting its territory in accordance with the homeowners' association policy ...
Sadly, like in the days of the Bone Wars, some aren't buying what this T-Rex is selling (except for the house, which flew off the market). Many believe it to be a gimmicky publicity stunt to draw buyers, much like a few years ago in the same state when a realtor dressed up like a giant panda and, ironically, looked a lot more like a serial killer than the guy dressed in a T-Rex suit.
But let us ask you: What is more fantastical? The idea that herds of heavily armored dinosaurs traveled tens of thousands of miles to another continent, or that a half-deflated T-rex would sell starter homes to easily manipulated Texans? Honestly, we don't know. Jurassic Park never prepared us for any of this.
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For as much as people love them, the 'Star Wars' movies have gotten rather awkward from time to time.
Sometimes the stories after the stories are even stranger.
Bawitdaba, pass the green beans.