How did T. rex get to be so awesome? A recent fossil discovery revealed its secret.

The Tyrannosaurus rex — the tiny-armed, 40-foot-tall, seven-ton, jaw-chomping, lizard-bird-monster-god-of-doom — is the undisputed king of the dinosaurs.

But how exactly does one get to be the king of the dinosaurs?

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Well, thanks to a newly discovered relative of the famed "Jurassic Park" star, we now know the secret to T. rex's dino-success. And it's not all about its massive physical stats, after all.


Spoiler alert: It's lasers. GIF from "Dino-Riders."

You read that right: THEY DISCOVERED A NEW DINOSAUR!

It's called Timurlengia euotica, and yes, it's technically not new new because it's already been dead for a gazillion years, but that's beside the point 'cause it's a new freakin' dinosaur

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If somehow that's not exciting enough, it also fills in a glaring 20-million-year fossil gap in our overall dino-knowledge! Thanks, T. euot!

Yeahhhhh I guess "T. euot" doesn't sound nearly as cool as "T. rex," huh? Oh well, I tried. (Also that's an artist's rendering, in case that wasn't clear.) Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

It all started in Uzbekistan back in 2004, when a team of paleontologists found the fossil of a weird-lookin' braincase.

They were as intrigued by the grapefruit-sized bone lump as they were confused. Which is kind of how I feel whenever someone smart and science-y feels compelled to distinguish between the terms "braincase" and "skull."

GIF from "Meet the Robinsons."

The mysterious braincase was hidden away in storage — until 2014, when it caught the eye of Dr. Steve Brusatte, a T-rexpert from the University of Edinburgh.

"When I looked at it, it struck me really quickly that this looked like a tyrannosaur braincase," he told National Geographic. "Not exactly T. rex, much smaller; the same bones in a T. Rex would be bigger than a basketball."

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Specifically, it was missing some of the recesses and knobs that are standard on a T. rex braincase, and its ear canals were surprisingly long — evidence of incredible aural abilities.

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In fact, the braincase was remarkably reminiscent of Xiongguanlong, another recently discovered tyrannosaurid that predated the rex by about 60 million years. But whereas Xionggunlong was believed to be about the size of a human, Timurlengia euotica clocked in around 600 pounds and the size of a horse.

The tyrannosaurid family tree. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

As Brusatte told CBS News:

Timurlengia "has an advanced brain. It has an ear with a very long cochlea, perfectly attuned to hearing low frequency sound. We used to think that those were the features of only the biggest tyrannosaurs, that those were things that evolved in the biggest tyrannosaurs in concert with the evolution of large size."

Note: This is not actually a GIF of a T. rex and T. euot nuzzling each other. GIF from "Walking With Dinosaurs."

You see, T. rex wasn't just a ginormous dino-dictator, ruling the Cretaceous with its teeny-tiny iron fists. It was also incredibly intelligent (for a dinosaur, anyway).

It had acute senses of sight, smell, and hearing, which gave it a leg up on the other predators roaming the land. And yes, it was also huge, which was obviously advantageous as well.

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But until this point, no one was really sure how it got there. How did it evolve to be a giant chompy monster that was also smarter than the average prehistoric lizard-bird?

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"It’s the head-first mode of evolution," said Hans-Dieter Sues, chair of the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, and one of the co-authors of the study that discovered the T. euotica. "The brains [are] for the operation, and then you develop the bulk."

Hans-Dieter Sues presenting evidence of the T. euotica. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Put another way: T. rex is evolutionary evidence for the power of brains before brawn. And T. euotica is the missing link that proves it.

That's right, kids: If you study hard and believe in yourselves, you too can become a T. rex someday! That's how science works, right? 

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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