Sue: Facts & Fun
For Immediate Release
Contact: Field Museum PR Department
November 8, 1999
(312) 665-7100, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue's Vital Statistics
Age: 67 million years—and rather well preserved for her age, wouldn’t you say?
Discovered: August 12, 1990, on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation near Faith, South Dakota, by fossil hunter Sue Hendrickson.
Length: 41 to 45 feet (12.5 to 13.7 meters)
Height at hips: 13 feet (4.0 meters)
Estimated live weight: 7 tons (6.4 metric tons)
Weight of skull, as found: Nearly 1 ton
Length of skull: 5.2 feet
Size of brain cavity: Just big enough to hold a quart of milk
Number of teeth: 60
Length of teeth: 7 1/2 to 12 inches
Price: Acquired by The Field Museum (with assistance from McDonald’s® Corporation and Walt Disney World Resort®) for $8.36 million. To scientists and dinosaur fans: Priceless
Is that a fact?
It took six fossil hunters 17 days to get Sue out of the ground; it took ten preparators two years to clean and repair her bones.
A T. rex skeleton is made up of more than 250 bones. Sue was found with most of those bones. She’s missing only a foot, one arm, and a few ribs and vertebrae.
Only two complete T. rex forelimbs have ever been found—and Sue’s is one of them!
Sue’s legs are enormous, but her arms are the size of a human’s—so short they couldn’t even reach her mouth. No one knows how T. rex used those tiny forelimbs.
Sue’s razor-sharp teeth were continually shed and re-grown during her lifetime.
Did you know...
• T. rex lived closer in time to the first humans (60 million years apart) than it did to the first dinosaurs (160 million years apart).
• The first T. rex was unearthed in Wyoming by Barnum Brown in 1900.
• Some tyrannosaurids—dinosaurs in the same family as Sue—weighed as little as 200 pounds, full grown.
• Dinosaurs evolved from a group of crocodile-like reptiles called thecodonts.
• The word fossil comes from the Latin word fossilis, which means "dug up."
Top 10 reasons why dinosaurs are cool and T. rex rules!
10. Dinosaurs are party animals. On New Year’s Eve, 1853, sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and scientist Sir Richard Owen hosted a dinner party for 21 people inside a life-size model of Iguanodon.
9. Paleontologists have a sense of humor. When a group of them discovered that the skull they were studying had been incorrectly reconstructed, they were so annoyed they named the dinosaur Irritator.
8. The dome-shaped skull bone of Pachycephalosaurus ("thick-headed lizard") is 9 inches thick!
7. Small meat-eating dinosaurs like Deinonychus may have hunted in packs, killing and eating much larger animals.
6. Some dinosaurs tended their nests and protected their young
5. In Mongolia, paleontologists found a Protoceratops with a Velociraptor holding onto its frill and its stomach—both apparently killed by a collapsing sand dune at the moment of attack!
4. Some meat-eating dinosaurs have hollow bones and wishbones just like their closest living relatives, the birds.
3. For 150 million years, dinosaurs ruled the earth and no mammal got much larger than a house cat.
2. At 14,000 pounds, Sue was one of the largest land-dwelling animals that ever lived.
And the number one reason why dinosaurs are cool and T. rex rules: Tyrannosaurus rex is the "tyrant lizard king."
How well do you know your dinosaur pop culture?
Q: What was the name of Alley Oop’s pet dinosaur?
Q: Cary Grant played a paleontologist in which movie?
a) "North by Northwest"
b) "Arsenic and old Lace"
c) "Bringing up Baby"
Q: In the television cartoon The Flintstones, Fred worked in a quarry where all the machines were really prehistoric animals. What kind of dinosaur did he use to lift rocks out of the quarry?
a) a sauropod
b) a ceratopsian
c) a stegosaur
Q: What animated film features dinosaurs parading to the music of Igor Stravinsky’s "The Rite of Spring?"
a) "The Land before Time"
b) "Gertie the Dinosaur"
Q: What was the name of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel that took place during World War I on an island inhabited by dinosaurs and prehistoric people?
a) "The Land before Time"
b) "The Land of the Lost"
c) "The Land that Time Forgot"
Q: What was the first feature-length film that included dinosaurs?
a) "The Lost World"
b) "Adam Raises Cain"
c) "The Land Unknown"
A: a (The movie version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s book was released in 1912)
Q: Of the six dinosaurs featured in the movie "Jurassic Park", how many actually lived during the Jurassic Period?
A: b (Brachiosaurus and Dilophosaurus were the only two from the Jurassic. The T. rex, Triceratops, Velociraptor, and Gallimimus all lived in the next period—the Cretaceous.)