Extinction or salvation for La Jolla's T.Rex?

Neighbors pay tribute to T.Rex.  Photo: Peter Economy
Neighbors pay tribute to T.Rex. Photo: Peter Economy

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

Felled by a tree not a space object this time, the fate of the mighty 14-foot-high T. Rex that for two years has been prowling the estate at 1401 Muirlands Drive remains uncertain.

Will it be extinction once again for the king of beasts? Or it will it be granted a reprieve this time?

The owner of the much-beloved metal-sculpture dinosaur in the Muirlands, who requested anonymity, isn’t sure what they’re ultimately going to do about the local landmark that was downed by a huge eucalyptus tree in their yard during a recent storm, crushing it into a fence where it now lies prone.

“The dinosaur's pretty messed up,” the owner said. “There’s much discussion and debate about the next step.”

The next step is a decision between two possible outcomes, “Haul it to the dump vs. recreating it,” the owner said.

Ned Scudder, who had a view of the T. Rex’s head from his TV room across the street before it got knocked over, knows what he’d like to see done with it: something right out of “Jurassic Park."

“I’m encouraging them to use the old bent and battered T.Rex, get at least one more dinosaur, and have it standing over the downed one so it looks as if there’s been some kind of battle taking place.”

Scudder said it’s bizarre just how attached neighbors are becoming to the backyard T. Rex.

“They’ve sort of adopted it,” he said, noting just how much is being demonstrated by people’s reaction to its apparent demise. “People have stopped their cars, and their walks with their kids, and gone, ‘We can’t believe it, this is terrible. What are we going to do?’ They’ve been leaving cards and flowers, stuffed animals on the fence. It’s pretty amusing.”

The T.Rex owner agreed people are taking more than just a mere liking to the prehistoric beast. “It’s been a very odd reaction in the neighborhood, particularly elderly people,” the owner said said. “Moving the thing one morning, a 90-year-old lady started screaming and asking me what I was doing. She told me not to move her dinosaur.”

“It’s kind of become a neighborhood icon,” agreed Scudder, who added it was fun to witness people reacting to it when it was fully outfitted at Halloween.

“It had a hydraulic ram in the tail powered by an extension cord and they had it hooked up with lights and when kids walked by, the dinosaur would rumble and lean right down at them and freak them out,” he said.

Scudder said people have also been making offerings to the thunder lizard.

“Probably 20 or more stuffed animals have been thrown upward into its mouth so it looks like it’s chewing some kind of small animal.”

Muirlands T.Rex’s owner is putting off the hard decision which has to made about the prehistoric yard sculpture, noting the original artist could be retained to recreate it to follow up on Scudder’s suggestion of adding an attacker so it has a “theme.”

They almost fear the reaction of their family and neighbors if they do decide it’s time for T. Rex to rejoin the fossil record.

“Children are pretty attached to it, approaching its being a pet,” the owner noted. “It has given a certain status to the neighborhood defining that little corner there.”



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