Johnson lit social media on fire when he spoke about the T-Rex fossil, nicknamed Stan after the paleontologist who discovered him, sparking questions about whether the pro wrestling legend was the secret buyer who purchased the fossil at auction in October 2020 for nearly $ 32 million.
That didn’t appear to be the case. Johnson said he wasn’t the “mystery buyer.”
“In my home office, this is my REPLICA CAST of STAN that I had made and purchased from my friends at The Black Hills Institute of Geological Research and Paleontological Excavations,” Johnson wrote in an Instagram post featuring the replica.
“My love, respect, fascination and curiosity for paleontological & archeological science runs deep – and if I was the proud owner of the real STAN, I sure as hell wouldn’t keep him in my office. I’d keep him in a museum, so the world could enjoy, study and learn from him.”
The dinosaur in question was discovered over 30 years ago in South Dakota by a paleontologist named Stan Sacrison. It was fully excavated in 1992 and was housed at the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, according to National Geographic.
That was until Oct. 6, 2020, when 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.”
Johnson appeared to quench the fears and dreams of those who wondered whether it was the real thing.