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12 Things You Might Not Know About T. rex

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The world’s most famous dinosaur is a lot more interesting than many people realize. Some 65 million years after its extinction, Tyrannosaurus rex is still captivating scientists, movie makers, and the general public alike. Here’s some neat stuff you might not know about the “tyrant lizard king.”

1. Those Arms Weren’t So Puny After All.

T. rex’s supposedly wimpy arms have become a prehistoric punch line, but according to paleontologist Jack Conrad, this misconception needs to go extinct. “The bicep alone—and this is a conservative estimate—could curl 430 pounds,” he said. For more, check out this entertaining video courtesy of Earth Unplugged:

2. Adult Rexes Might’ve Been Covered In Feathers

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Fluffy dinosaur skeletons are nothing new, but until recently many assumed feathers were the exclusive property of smaller dinosaur species. That all changed with the discovery of Yutyrannus huali in 2012. This Chinese T. rex relative reached an impressive length of over 25 feet and sported six-inch feathers which covered much of its body. The find has raised the very serious possibility that the Tyrannosaurus might have had some fuzzy feathers of its own.

3. T. rex Was Almost Re-Named Manospondylus gigas

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“Manospondylus gigas” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. However, the rules of scientific naming usually dictate that the discoverer of a new species earns the naming rights. This caused a brief debate when it was revealed in 1999 that fossil hunter Edward Drinker Cope had unearthed a T. rex vertebrae, which he dubbed “Manospondylus gigas,” some 13 years before the word “Tyrannosaurus” was ever coined. Some scientists felt that “M. gigas” should replace “T. rex” as the dino’s official moniker. The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), which dictates such matters, later ruled that because “Tyrannosaurus rex” had been a valid name for over 50 years, it warranted special protected status.

4. T. rex Had Excellent Vision

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The lizard king had darn good eyesight by dinosaur standards thanks to special adaptations in its skull. Like humans and birds of prey, T. rex had “binocular vision,” meaning its eyes looked directly forward and their planes of vision overlapped, enhancing the beast’s depth perception capabilities.

5. Tyrannosaurs May Have Practiced Cannibalism

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Over the years, many Tyrannosaurus skeletal remains have been found with tell-tale bite marks that most likely came from other T. rexes, although it’s impossible to determine if this was the result of scavenging or predation.

6. Juveniles Grew Up Quick

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Talk about a teenage growth spurt. Research conducted in 2004 indicates that between ages 14 and 18, young “rexes” would gain a whopping five pounds per day.  

7. A Prime Specimen Was Once Sold For Over $8 Million

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The whirlwind saga of “Sue” the T. rex (nicknamed in honor of paleontologist Sue Hendrickson) still sends shockwaves throughout the paleontological community. Her skeleton was over 90 percent complete, a true rarity by fossilization standards—which was made all the more unlikely by Sue’s immense size (she was roughly 42 feet long from end to end). Her discovery prompted an intense legal battle which resulted in the Tyrannosaurus being put up for auction in 1997. The Chicago Field Museum teamed up with McDonald’s and the Disney Corporation to bring her to the Windy City at a cost of $8.36 million, keeping this one-of-a-kind specimen available to the public.

8. The Chase Scene in Jurassic Park Probably Couldn’t Have Happened

In the film, a Tyrannosaurus is seen charging at 45 miles per hour in hot pursuit of a jeep. Thrilling as this scene was, in order for such a massive animal to reach those speeds, 86 percent of its muscle content would have to be concentrated in its legs, an anatomical impossibility.  For more, check this out.

9. Contrary to What You Might’ve Heard, T. rex Was, In All Likelihood, Both a Hunter and a Scavenger

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“Was T. rex a ferocious hunter or a lowly scavenger?” is an oft-asked dino question, much to the chagrin of many paleontologists. Most modern carnivores dine on carcasses and live prey alike, and—despite sensationalist headlines like this one—there’s no reason to assume that Tyrannosaurus didn’t behave likewise. As science writer Brian Switek recently put it, “there was never any legitimate debate on this point. Our beloved T. rex was undoubtedly a predator and a scavenger, and the ongoing fascination with the dinosaur’s reputation has a lot more to do with muddled media than science.”

10. The World’s First Known T. rex Footprint Might Have Been Found At A Boy Scout Camp

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Unless a prehistoric animal literally dies in its tracks, we can’t determine the exact identity of its maker when a fossilized footprint is discovered. However, a gigantic footprint was unearthed at the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico in 1983 by geologist Charles Pillmore. Because of its striking similarities to the T. rex's distinctive feet, the scientific community has tentatively concluded that it was most likely produced by an adult Tyrannosaurus.

11. Buffalo, South Dakota is the Self-Described “T. rex Capital of the World”

At least seven T. rex skeletons have been unearthed near this sleepy town of 330. Notable Buffalo rexes include a large specimen affectionately called “Stan” and a famous individual known as “Samson,” which was briefly put up for sale on eBay (though it failed to meet the sellers’ multi-million-dollar asking price).

12. You Can See A “Mating T. rex” Display in Spain

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When both parties weigh several tons, consummating a relationship can be a daunting task. Located in northern Spain, the Jurassic Museum of Asturias features a series of extensive dinosaur exhibits, one of which includes two Tyrannosaurus skeleton replicas mounted in a very speculative sex position.

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7 Places To Grab a Bite of Elvis
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August 16, 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, reportedly from hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with atherosclerotic heart disease. Just 42 years old at the time of his passing, the King of Rock 'n' Roll had a reputation for loving rich, decadent food as much as he loved music, with the infamous fried peanut butter and banana sandwich being one of his favorite delicacies.

While we can’t recommend them as part of your daily diet, there are Elvis-inspired indulgences to be found at eateries across the country. If you’re ever in the mood for a taste of Elvis, here’s where to go.

1. THE ELVIS MARTINI // FORT WORTH, TEXAS

With roots stretching back well over half a century, Forth Worth's T&P Tavern used to be a rail station stopover for notables including Elvis Presley himself. To honor their history, the bar offers the Elvis—a martini flavored with peanut butter, banana, and bacon.

2. MR. LUCKY'S // LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Brian Brown

There’s decadent, and then there’s Las Vegas. To match the city’s reputation for excess, Mr. Lucky’s—the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's 24-hour diner—can reinvigorate patrons pulling all-nighters with the King. It’s an enormous plate of 14 banana pancakes served with Nutella, whipped cream, powdered sugar, and 14 slices of bacon. Before ordering, don't forget to tell your family you love them.

3. JOHNNY J'S // CASPER, WYOMING

In 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama paid a visit to Johnny J's while on the campaign trail.
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Johnny J’s specializes in burgers named after influential rock stars, including Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and, of course, Elvis Presley. With the Elvis, patrons can expect a slab of beef topped with red chili and melted cheddar jack cheese, served open faced—without a single banana in sight.

4. BROOKLYN FARMACY & SODA FOUNTAIN // BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

This reworked early 20th-century pharmacy underwent renovations for reopening in 2010. Like any proper soda fountain, they're all about sundaes and milkshakes—including The Elvis, a vanilla ice cream topped with peanut butter, banana, and candied bacon.

5. MEMPHIS MOJO CAFE // BARTLETT, TENNESSEE

Mojo's

The Memphis Mojo Cafe and food truck are go-to spots for burgers, but it’s their dessert that will send Elvis fanatics into a sugar frenzy. Their Elvis Dippers are Nutter Butter cookies dipped in maple waffle batter, deep-fried, and dunked in butterscotch banana cream.

6. OATMEALS // NEW YORK, NEW YORK

The menu at OatMeals offers something for everyone, even if that someone is into Sriracha-covered oatmeal. But the standout might be The Elvis, a bowl of oats topped with peanut butter, banana, bacon, and sea salt.

7. MARLOWE'S RIBS & RESTAURANT // MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Marlowe's Ribs & Restaurant

Just a few minutes from Graceland, it’s almost a prerequisite that Marlowe’s Ribs & Restaurant would have a surplus of Elvis-inspired items on their menu—and they don’t disappoint. Among their specialties: the Elvis Burger, which comes topped with bacon, smoked ham, and American cheese. For dessert, the Crispy Creme Banana Foster Sundae—a donut with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter sauce, sauteed bananas, and whipped cream—is a modern take on some of the King's favorite treats.

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Beyond CSI: 10 Fascinating Forensic Careers
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If you were to believe everything you saw on television about a day in the life of a forensic science professional, it would be all crime scene investigation all the time. As pulse-poundingly exciting as the investigative antics on CSI, NCIS, Dexter, and Criminal Minds may be, the day-to-day duties of forensic professionals aren’t always so cinematic. From accountants to astronomers, here are 10 lesser-known—but entirely fascinating—forensic careers.

1. FORENSIC LINGUIST

From pronunciation to word order, the patterns with which a person communicates are almost as distinct as the sound of his or her voice. Which makes them an identifiable piece of evidence in a criminal investigation, particularly in cases where fraud or plagiarism are concerned. Though the field of forensic linguistics emerged in the late 1960s, it didn’t come into popular use in the U.S. until the mid-1990s, when FBI forensic linguist James Fitzgerald convinced his employer that publishing the Unabomber's “manifesto” could possibly help them catch the man who had killed three people and injured nearly two dozen others with the homemade bombs he’d been mailing to unsuspecting victims for nearly two decades. It worked. Several people called in tips after reading the manifesto, recognizing the writing style, which eventually led them to Ted Kaczynski.

If you've been watching Discovery's Manhunt: Unabomber, you've already gotten a sense of what Fitzgerald's job entails. He's portrayed by Sam Worthington in the series, and Fitzgerald, a.k.a. "Fitz," has been impressed with the series' accuracy. "They are in the high 80 percentile [of accuracy]," Fitzgerald told Bustle, noting that "the Fitz character is a composite character." He describes the series as "a metaphorical look at my role in the Unabomber case, as well as bits and pieces of other agents who did it. It’s relatively factual. I will say, if it is about language analysis that is shown on the screen, that was me. That was the real Fitz."

2. FORENSIC OPTOMETRIST

Diagnosing astigmatism and glaucoma is all in a day’s work for an optometrist. Catching a murderer? Not so much. But Graham Strong has spent more than two decades doing just that, helping to prove the ownership of eyewear evidence left behind at crime scenes. It all started in 1989, when he assisted investigators in proving that the glasses found beneath the body of a murder victim were the same ones that their key suspect was wearing in an earlier mug shot. “I obtained more than 20 measurements that enabled me to conclude that the glasses found at the scene were identical to photographs in every way,” Strong explained of his investigative process. The evidence resulted in a first-degree murder conviction.

3. FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST

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If you’ve ever watched an episode of Bones, you kinda sorta know what’s in a forensic anthropologist’s job description: to help identify and investigate decayed or damaged skeletal remains. If the science in the show seems sound, that’s because (for the most part) it is: The series, which ended its 12-season run in March 2017, is based on the life, work, and writing of Kathy Reichs, who is one of only 100 forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (she’s also a best-selling author and was one of the show’s producer).

4. FORENSIC ARCHAEOLOGIST

Part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes, forensic archaeologists work with the police and other government agencies to locate, excavate, and analyze historical evidence, from buried personal items to mass graves. Employing the same techniques they would at a dig site, forensic archaeologists help to organize a crime scene and preserve potential evidence and are being increasingly called upon by organizations such as the United Nations in genocide investigations in Rwanda, Argentina, and Bosnia. 

5. FORENSIC ACCOUNTANT

Some investigators carry a gun; others wield an adding machine. Consider this: When the FBI was founded in 1908, 12 of its 34 original investigators were bank examiners. Today, about 400 of the FBI’s special agents are accountants. Forensic accountants are also found in accounting firms of varying sizes, as well as in law firms and police and government agencies, where they investigate a range of crimes that have been committed in the name of financial gain, which could include anything from murder to securities fraud. 

6. FORENSIC ASTRONOMER

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Not even Copernicus could have likely imagined that the field he pioneered would one day be able to aid in the delivery of legal justice. But the celestial bodies that continue to confound us regular folk have been used in much more practical ways for several centuries now, dating all the way back to Abraham Lincoln’s days as a lawyer, when he successfully defended a client against murder by being able to establish the position of the moon on the night of the altercation (which disproved the testimony of the prosecution’s key witness).

7. FORENSIC ODONTOLOGIST

In the late 1960s, there was a serial killer and rapist on the loose in Montreal who earned the nickname “The Vampire Rapist” because of the signature bite marks he left on the breasts of his victims. That vicious calling card became the undoing of Wayne Boden, the 23-year-old former model who was arrested in 1971 when Gordon Swann, a local orthodontist, was able to show 29 points of similarity between Boden’s chompers and the marks left on the body of Elizabeth Porteous, his final victim. Boden’s conviction was the first in North America to rest on odontological evidence, but certainly not the last; in 1979, forensic odontologist Richard Souviron was a key witness in the prosecution of Ted Bundy for the Chi Omega murders at Florida State University.

8. FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST

Forensic pathologists—medical doctors tasked with examining corpses to determine identity and the cause and manner of death—have found themselves in the spotlight in recent years with the popularity of reality television series like Dr. G: Medical Examiner, which followed Dr. Jan Garavaglia, Orlando’s Chief Medical Examiner, who famously identified the remains of Caylee Anthony. A decade earlier, HBO premiered Autopsy, a documentary series in which Dr. Michael Baden—the former Chief Medical Examiner of New York City—explained the science behind some of the most notorious crimes of the century, including the assassination of JFK, the death of Sid Vicious, and the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson. Lesser-known Autopsy cases examined how maggots, tattoos, breast implants, and chewing gum have all helped solve crimes. 

9. FORENSIC MICROSCOPIST

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The most damning evidence at a crime scene is usually the kind that is impossible to see with the naked eye. Enter forensic microscopy, the science of trace evidence, which can offer valuable clues in solving a crime by examining a variety of substances such as hairs, fibers, soil, dust, building materials, paint chips, botanicals, and food. Skip Palenik has spent a lifetime using microscropy to solve real-world crimes, analyzing trace evidence in the cases of the Hillside Strangler, JonBenét Ramsey, the Unabomber, and the Green River Killer. In 1992, he founded Microtrace LLC, an independent laboratory and consultation firm focused on small particle analysis. 

10. FORENSIC NURSE

Nurses are the first point of contact for many a crime victim, so it only makes sense that they would play an important role in the legal system. From collecting blood and DNA samples to counseling crime victims, the specializations of a forensic nurse can vary, as can their training. Writer-producer Serita Stevens—a forensic nurse herself—explores the field in depth in her book Forensic Nurse: The New Role of the Nurse in Law Enforcement, which notes of the job that “When the human body itself is a crime scene, [the forensic nurse] is the most critical investigator of all.”

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