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A Tyrannosaurus rex and a shark as neighbors? Yes, eons ago in South Dakota

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Scientists conducting a recent painstaking examination of the two tons of rock left over after the fossilized bones of the celebrated Tyrannosaurus rex named Sue were extricated in the 1990s came across a surprise: shark teeth.

The huge meat-eating dinosaur did not meet its demise in a shark attack in some sort of “Jaws” meets “Jurassic Park” monster mash. But, scientists said on Monday, when the 40-1/2-foot-long (12.3-meter) Sue died some 67 million years ago, the beast fell into a South Dakota river teeming with sharks – albeit small ones – thriving in the freshwater environment.

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The skeleton of Sue, the largest, most complete and best-preserved T. rex ever unearthed, is displayed at the Field Museum in Chicago, which kept the leftover rock for years in underground storage. That rock has now yielded fossils from other creatures that were Sue’s neighbors including a shark species called Galagadon nordquistae.

Galagadon, related to a group called carpet sharks found in Indo-Pacific seas today, measured 1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 meters) long, with teeth the size of a sand grain, about four-hundredths of an inch (1 millimeter). Tyrannosaurus teeth were up to a foot long (30 centimeters).

If Galagadon ever interacted with Sue, it may have been when the thirsty dinosaur came to the river for a gulp of water.

“It would not surprise me at all if a T. rex individual scared a little Galagadon as it lowered its head to drink,” said North Carolina State University paleontologist Terry “Bucky” Gates, lead author of the research published in the Journal of Paleontology.

If Galagadon resembled its existing relatives, it was a blunt-faced bottom-dweller with barbels by its mouth like a catfish and camouflage patterning.

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“The teeth have an unusual shape with three unequal points and a wide apron at the root. Some of the teeth bear an uncanny resemblance to the spaceship in the 1980s arcade game ‘Galaga,’ which inspired the genus name,” said co-author Pete Makovicky, a paleontologist and Field Museum dinosaur curator.

Scientists also are studying fossils of at least two other shark species from Sue’s river. Virtually all sharks live in the sea, though two freshwater species today reside permanently in rivers and lakes, and some other species venture into freshwater.

“I doubt Galagadon spent its whole life in freshwater habitats,” Makovicky said, suggesting its river may have been connected to an inland sea 100 miles (160 km) away that at the time split North America in half.

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Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Sandra Maler


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Judge orders State Department to expand search for records of Rudy Giuliani and Mike Pompeo communications

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This Friday, a federal judge ordered the State Department to ramp up its search for records detailing communications in regards to Ukraine between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, McClatchy reports.

Judge Christopher Cooper of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia wants the State Department to expand on its release last month of records documenting contact between the two.

Cooper gave the the State Department until January 8 to release all records documenting "emails, text messages, call logs and scheduled meetings on Ukraine policy that were dated until October 18," adding that the department had “not adequately justified why its Executive Secretariat used a cut-off date," according to McClatchy.

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Supreme Court to hear case demanding Trump’s taxes

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President Donald Trump is, like every other president, responsible for giving his tax returns to Congress. He has refused to do so for all three years he's filed his taxes.

U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden, who was put on the bench by President Trump, said that he would allow a House lawsuit to continue. That case involkes the 1924 law that says the Ways and Means Committee has the authority to seek tax returns.

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‘DESPICABLE’: Melania Trump finally responded to her husband bullying a teenager – and people are pissed

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First lady Melania Trump was blasted online for refusing to stand up to her husband's attacks on teenager Greta Thunberg, who has become a climate activist demanding a cleaner future for her generation.

The first lady's campaign "Be Best," is supposed to fight bullying, but when it comes to the bullying by her husband, Mrs. Trump has a blind spot. She explained in a tweet Friday that since Thunberg is an activist she deserves whatever she gets. By contrast, no one can mention her son with the president.

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