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Is it fake? Almost assuredly so. Does that even matter if the supposed time traveler has a good story to tell? Not according to the millions of fans, thrill-seekers, and conspiracy theorists who have turned time travel into a popular YouTube genre.
So, let’s dive in to this nameless time traveler with a pixelated face and a foreign-sounding accent who consented to an interview with YouTube channel ApexTV.
Here’s the full video (the time traveler doesn’t begin showing the photo until about 15 minutes have passed).
This time traveler was first featured on the ApexTV channel in 2018. Since that time, he said he returned to his home year of 2082—this is a little unusual since most of the people featured on this channel don’t admit to time traveling in between YouTube appearances—before journeying back to 2019 to show us the picture of a feathered, purple T. rex.
He said he works for an “institute” that sends workers back in time to collect scientific data from the past. His job is to record historical events and give full details about them. Like seeing a T. rex with feathers that are purple, blue, and green.
“That’s the benefit of using time travel for scientific purposes,” he said. “You’re able to see exactly what the past was like without having to make any guesses or having to look at fossils or anything like that. You’re able to see it with your own two eyes.”
According to the supposed time traveler, he doesn’t know the exact details for how time travel works (the same thing said by just about everybody else featured by ApexTV) but he described the time machine as a small sphere object that balances perfectly on the ground. He said the sphere begins to rotate and spin quickly, and when the window to the outside world turns white, that means the time travel process has begun.
The sphere, he said, can be completely invisible to the world when it arrives at its destination—in this case, he said he went 60 million years back into the past—and from the sky, he said he could see dinosaurs like stegosaurus, triceratops, and T. rex. After bringing the time machine to the ground in what is now the southwestern U.S., he said he snapped a photo.
“You can see it actually shows a living T. rex, and it was captured on camera,” he said. “This is what T. rex’s actually looked like.”
Of course, that photo isn’t conclusive. Like other ApexTV subjects—for example, the person who had “raw footage” of Las Vegas from 2120 or the man who said he had photographic proof he visited 16th century China—supposed evidence like this means virtually nothing.
But hey, it’s a good tale, even if there’s almost no chance it’s true. Especially since, ahem, T. rex didn’t live at the same time as the stegosaurus.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.