The Rock's T-Rex skull on 'ManningCast' raises questions over whether it's real historic fossil

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Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson appeared on the “ManningCast” during the NFC wild-card playoff game between the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.

“The most electrifying man in sports entertainment” was dazzling NFL fans with what was behind him rather than with what he was doing or saying during the broadcast. Fans were perplexed to see a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull sitting over his left shoulder.

Owned by the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in South Dakota, the skeleton is known as "Stan" for the amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison who found the initial bones in 1987. The bones were discovered in a remote area that spans North and South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. Stan, with an estimated value between $6 million and $8 million, is considered one of the largest and most complete examples of a T-Rex, with 188 original bones. The skeleton will be auctioned as part of Christie’s  20th Century evening auction on Oct. 6 in New York.
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur fossil skeleton is displayed in a gallery at Christie’s auction house on September 17, 2020 in New York City.
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

That was until Oct. 6, 2020, in which the Christie’s auction house sold the T-Rex for $31.8 million, the highest price ever paid for a fossil. The bidder was never named.

“That’s an astronomical price that borders on absurdity, based on my knowledge of the market,” paleontologist David Evans told the magazine at the time. “If this kind of money [were] invested properly, it could easily fund 15 permanent dinosaur research positions, or about 80 full field expeditions per year, in perpetuity.”

Dwayne Johnson attends the World Premiere Of Disney’s "Jungle Cruise" at Disneyland on July 24, 2021 in Anaheim, California.
(Frazer Harrison/WireImage)

The appearance of the skull set off a firestorm on social media.

The object in question appeared to only be the skull and not the rest of the fossil, which could indicate it was just a replica sitting behind the pro wrestling legend.

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