“We are just as shocked as the general public,” said a Navy Pier spokesperson. “What a terrific discovery for the Pier!”
Earlier in March, Navy Pier engineers took soil samples in Gateway Park as part of prep work for the upcoming Pierscape project. Over a span of three days, they removed samples from various areas around the park, disturbing the earth in the process.
Just a week ago, a local runner named David Foleman uncovered the fossil while stretching in Gateway Park before a run along the lakefront.
“Mr. Foleman was doing hurdler’s stretches in a stand of trees on the north side of the park,” said Phil McCracken of the US Geologic Survey during a hastily called press conference earlier this morning, “when he stepped on what he thought was a strange looking rock. He told us he dug around the object with his hands until he cleared enough soil to see it plainly wasn’t a rock.”
Foleman notified a Navy Pier Security officer in the park and Navy Pier officials immediately called several area museums for assistance with identification. The area in Gateway Park was discreetly cordoned off as scientists moved in to examine and excavate the object.
“What we’ve found here at Navy Pier is astounding,” said Dan Johnson, a paleontologist based out of New Mexico who flew to Chicago for the excavation process. “What David came across during his morning run is the fully intact skull of a Mentirisaurus, a previously unknown species of dinosaur. Based on radiometric dating, we know that this dinosaur is a close relation to the Tyrannosaurus and lived during the late Cretaceous Period. From the size of the skull, we can also tell that this was some kind of super dinosaur, incredibly fast, certainly the fastest of all the dinosaurs, and incredibly strong with endurance to outlast any prey it was hunting.”
“But the huge out-of-proportion skull is most likely what led to the demise of Mentirisaurus,” added Johnson. “Its head seems to have inexplicably evolved to be so large that it would have thrown the Mentirisaurus’ center of gravity so far off as to force it into a grossly accelerated fall from the top of the food chain. It would have quickly become easy pickings for a more stealthy or scavenger species.”
“It’s not yet clear where the skull will go,” said a Navy Pier spokesperson, “but because it was discovered on Navy Pier property, our first task is to give it a nickname. We could have followed the lead of the Field Museum and named it after the person who discovered it, but we’ve decided to open it up to the public.”
If you want to be the one who names the Mentirisaurus, send in your suggestion below!