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Did The Rock buy Stan, the most expensive Tyrannosaurus rex on record?

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In October of 2020, an unknown buyer spent $31.8 million to buy one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rexes on record, nicknamed Stan. Could that unknown buyer have been Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson? Read on to find out. 

Rumors began when The Rock appeared on NFL’s and ESPN’s ManningCast. During the show, The Rock sat next to a large skull of a T. rex. 

“I got a T. rex skull,” Johnson said during the broadcast. “That’s Stan, as a matter of fact. So, Stan is the most complete T. rex skull ever found by a paleontologist- a young paleontologist, and his name was Stan. So, this T. rex head was named after him. Pretty cool and badass, isn’t it?”

But was it THEE Stan? Or just a replica? Fans took to Twitter to debate the matter which was cleared up with a call to the Black Hills Institute (BHI) in South Dakota, the company that formerly owned and housed Stan. 

President and founder of BHI, Peter Larson, was able to confirm that The Rock’s skull was not Stan. 

“The Rock purchased from Black Hills Institute a cast of Stan’s skull toward the end of 2021,” Larson was quoted as saying. “We were very excited that he was going to get one. He’s one of our heroes. He seems to be a really genuine human being who plays pretty cool parts in movies.”

While the skull replica is not as expensive as the full specimen, it’s not exactly cheap either. It sells for about $11,500. Reportedly, the institute sells five or ten of the skulls a year making it one of their best sellers. 

So, if Rock doesn’t own the T. rex specimen, who does? Unfortunately, that information is still unknown. 

“The auction company was not able to tell us where Stan went,” Larson revealed. “We are keeping our fingers crossed that Stan is going to a museum. Stan is a super-important specimen for science.”

The dinosaur’s remains were found by amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison in 1987 in the Hell Creek formation in Buffalo, South Dakota. BHI spent over 300,000 hours excavating and preparing the skeleton which went on to tour the world and became the subject of about 100 studies. 

Research reveals that Stan was alive about 67 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. It had several broken bones including a broken neck as well as healed ribs and a scar on its skull that looked to be caused by a T. rex tooth. The injuries were apparently the result of some vicious fighting. 

“Stan was tough,” Larsen said,” So it’s no wonder The Rock wanted to have a replica of Stan in his abode.”

BHI’s decision to part with the specimen was not an easy one to make. It came about when Larson’s brother, a minority shareholder of the company, decided to part ways. He brought a lawsuit against BHI and won. 

Larson did not want to liquidate to come up with the funds to pay off the lawsuit, so he decided to sell Stan instead. Many researchers were upset by his decision as they thought Stan would be better used for scientific purposes. In a private owner’s hand, scientists would never be able to find out how old the dinosaur was or how it grew during its lifetime. 

While no one is certain as to where Stan is now, there are some guesses that can help bring people closer to solving the issue. Because the Christie’s New York auction was done by the London desk, many people believe the buyer was from the Middle East. 

Larson also provides insight saying that while Rock probably has the funds to buy Stan, “That’s a lot of money. I don’t think that’s a single person that bought it. That’s another reason why I think it’s at a museum.”

Stan is definitely a large specimen to hide. I’m sure someone will find out where he is sooner or later. Where do you think he is?

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