The Tyrannosaurus rex had a pretty impressive reign for 65 million years or so. King of the dinosaurs, most-visited museum exhibit — you get the idea.
That all ended this past week when it was revealed that competitor predator Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was in fact 10 feet longer than T. rex and, wait for it, swam and ate sharks.
While this may sound like a plot for “Sharknado 3,” it is in fact entirely true, according to findings published in the journal Science on Thursday. “I think that we have to face the fact that the Jurassic Park folks have to go back to the drawing board on Spinosaurus,” said co-author and University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno.
A related Spinosaurus exhibit, based on fossil evidence from Morocco, opened Friday at the National Geographic Museum. “Travel with National Geographic explorers and scientists to the remote edges of the Sahara to discover the origins of this rare African dinosaur and the mysterious journey that led to its rediscovery,” boasts the promotional material for the exhibit.
All the interest in Spinosaurus added insult to injury for T. rex, still smarting from the previous week’s love fest with Dreadnoughtus, a plant-eating dinosaur that weighed 65 tons, making it the world’s largest terrestrial animal.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History still has high hopes for attracting crowds with the new T. rex skeleton that arrived in April. But visitors will have to wait until 2019 — not a typo — when that exhibit opens. And who knows how many discoveries will eclipse T. rex between now and then.
T. rex, for being the latest D.C. celebrity to take a few years off only to watch someone steal your crown, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Each week, Chris Cillizza awards the worst week in Washington to an inhabitant of Planet Beltway who stands out for all the wrong reasons. You can check out previous winners or e-mail Cillizza with candidates. You can also read more from Outlook and follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter.