Yes, it was pretty impressive being hosted by a T. rex named Sue at a Chicago reception for the 75th Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists in late August of 2011. Actually, we don’t know if Sue is male or female, so I’ll set the preferred pronouns to they, them, and their. Their skeleton is the largest and most complete T. rex set of fossils ever found. They are 40 feet long and the collection of bones is 90% complete by weight. That’s 250 out of the 360 bones in a complete skeleton.
Sue is named after Sue Hendrickson, who discovered them in South Dakota. The fossils were brought to the Field Museum in Chicago after it won them with an auction bid of $7,600,000.00 plus auction costs. The museum raised the money from a variety of sources, including the California State University System, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, McDonald’s, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and people like you.
Sue was a resident of the museum’s large entry hall for 17 years. They were recently moved to another hall and replaced by an even larger specimen, a titanosaur named Máximo. Unlike Sue’s skeleton, however, which comprises the actual fossils, the Máximo exhibit displays casts of the originals. So kids can actually go up and touch Max!
The entry hall is more properly called the Stanley Field Hall. Stanley Field was a nephew of Marshall Field, the department store founder. Stanley worked in banking and was an important benefactor of the Museum. He also helped establish Grant Park and the Shedd Aquarium. Not only that, he was a cousin of Marshall Field, Jr., who died under mysterious circumstances in one of Chicago’s most sordid scandals. But that’s a story for another post.
In any event, considering Sue’s teeth and foot speed, we were glad we weren’t around when they lived. One would not want to be like a Corythosaurus, one of their favorite meals.