Former WWE Champion The Rock raised a few eyebrows during his appearance on a special NFL playoff edition of ESPN's Manningcast. On January 17, The Rock appeared on Peyton and Eli Manning's Manning Cast on NFL's Monday Night Football along with an unexpected special guest. Johnson videoed in from his home office, which features a gigantic T-Rex skull. And the internet could not keep cool.
In the show, he referred to the skull as “Stan.” When Johnson referred to the T. rex as "Stan," dinosaur enthusiasts and internet sleuths were left confused. In 2020, a private buyer anonymously purchased a near-complete T. rex skeleton nicknamed Stan for $31.8 million at an auction, report Will Martin and Barnaby Lane for Insider. The sale was considered highly controversial among paleontologists. For a moment, some folks wondered: Is Stan's mystery buyer The Rock?
Following multiple inquiries, The Rock decided to set the record straight. He shared an Instagram post stating he is not the mysterious buyer. As a point of reference, The Black Hills Institute sells skull replicas for the low price of $11,500. The Rock also went into detail on the origins of Stan.
The Rock took time in his post to nerd out, telling his followers that it's imagined that Stan had some "brutal" fights in his lifetime, including one fight that broke his neck. Stan survived the fight, though his vertebrae fused due to the injury, resulting in loss of mobility and serious pain for the rest of his life.
T. Rex's skeleton finally turns up!
Later, it was reported that the $30 million Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton was finally found. National Geographic reporter revealed that the valuable fossil, known as "Stan," will be housed in a new museum in Abu Dhabi slated to open in 2025. The news was also confirmed by Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism, which gave CNN a sneak peek at Stan's new home.
Stan's journey in the public eye began in the 1990s when the skeleton was discovered by brothers Pete and Neal Larson on private property in South Dakota. It was found mostly complete in 1992 and was named after the amateur paleontologist who discovered it: Stan Sacrison. However, after spending years on display at Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, which the brothers owned at the time, a legal dispute between the siblings sent the fossil to the auction block.
Stan's controversial purchase raised concerns about the loss of scientific knowledge. Many experts fear private sales create the perception that dinosaur fossils hold more inherent monetary value than the potential discoveries lying within the bones. Privately-held fossils are rarely studied because buyers can deny access to the specimen or resell it, making it difficult for researchers to conduct long-term analysis or verify previous research.
Currently, Stan is the most expensive fossil ever sold at auction. By comparison, Sue, which is on display at Chicago's Field Museum and the most complete T. rex specimen ever found to date, sold for $8.36 million in 1997, which would be equivalent to $13.5 million today, after factoring in inflation.