Friday, August 13, 2010

T. rex Sue

On August 12, 1990 Sue Hendrickson, a paleontologist, discovered the "largest, most complete, best preserved" Tyranosaurus Rex skeleton known to the world. This T. rex is 40.5 feet in length, her skeleton weighs 3,922 pounds, and she is estimated to be 67 million years old. It is extremely well-preserved and has contributed to the advancement of our knowledge about the T. rex. She is named Sue, after her discoverer, and she is on display at the Field Museum in Chicago, IL.

Her tremendous size is really just a small part of Sue's story. A court battle lasting 5 years over who owned Sue and her subsequent $8.36 million dollar sale price from Southeby's grabbed headlines years ago. Hendrickson and her colleagues found Sue's bones by chance on the outskirts of a dig they were doing for Black Hills Institute of Geological Research. However, the land on which they discovered Sue actually belonged to a Native American tribe member who later said he had not given permission to Hendrickson's team to keep the fossil they had found and claimed ownership to it. Because the property was ultimately in the trust of the United States government as it is located on a Sioux Reservation, the federal government as well as the Sioux tribe were also laying claims to Sue. The bones were housed at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology during the long, highly publicized trial until ownership of the bones was awarded to the land owner. The land owner then decided to sale the skeleton at a public auction at Sotheby's.

The Field Museum wanted to put Sue on display for all to see. With the cooperation of several private donors, including Walt Disney World Resort and McDonald's Corporation, Sue was purchased from Sotheby's for the enormous sum of over $8 million dollars. And, lucky for us, Sue is on display for the world.

Read more about how Sue may have died, why she is so well-preserved, and some of the fascinating discoveries that have been made since the fossil was found.

BOOKS

Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur that Changed Science, the Law, and My Life

Tyrannosaurus Sue: The Extraordinary Saga of the Largest, Most Fought Over T. Rex Ever Found

WEBSITES and ARTICLES

Get the Inside Scoop on Sue
The story of Sue from the Field Museum's website

Mighty T. rex Killed by Pigeon Parasite?

Paleontologists Assess T. rex Sue's Pathologies
Sue suffered from many of the same afflictions animals of today are faced with.

Sue on Facebook

Sue Pays Off For Field Museum

This Day in History: Skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex Discovered
From the History Channel

View the Many Sides of Sue
Photo galleries, videos and much more from the Field Musuem

1 comment:

Arborescence said...

Wow! I would never thought I would want to read about T. Rex Sue, but now I do! Thanks for the enticing post, Karen