Sue Rules! Come Snout-To-Snout With The King - Or Queen - Of The Dinosaurs
For Immediate Release
Contact: Field Museum PR Department
November 8, 1999
(312) 665-7100, firstname.lastname@example.org
67 million years ago, Sue and her species, Tyrannosaurus rex, were the undisputed rulers of their world. The biggest, fiercest meat-eaters ever to roam North America, they faced no rivals to their domination.
Sue lived a long life, and when she died her massive body was covered by the fine silt of an ancient river. For millions of years, while continents shifted around her and countless species came and went, Sue lay buried deep within the Black Hills of South Dakota. There she waited, slowly fossilizing, until August 12, 1990, when fossil hunter Sue Hendrickson encountered the sleeping giant.
Now Sue, her magnificent skeleton carefully restored, rules a new domain: the spacious halls of Chicago’s Field Museum.
Her long wait is over.
The Real Thing
On May 17, 2000, Sue takes the throne, presiding over her kingdom from the north end of Stanley Field Hall. Male or female, king or queen, no one can be sure. But of one thing there is no question: Sue rules!
You may approach her majesty. Walk around her—slowly. Examine the bird-like feet, the massive legs and pelvis, the surprisingly graceful tail. Stare into her bottomless eye sockets, her razor-sharp teeth and powerful jaws.
No question about it: this is the real thing. Not a plastic model or a plaster cast. Not a patchwork or composite of bones from different specimens. These are the fossilized bones of the single largest, most complete, and best preserved T. rex fossil yet discovered.
At a time when many museums are displaying replicas of dinosaur skeletons, The Field Museum has strengthened its commitment to authenticity. This is Sue.
The Object of Our Attention
Yes, Sue is glorious to behold. But she is at The Field Museum to be studied as well as admired. She is, after all, without peer—the single richest source of information about her species, Tyrannosaurus rex. In the skilled hands of scientists, she holds the potential to answer many questions about the past. (See Sue: More than Just a Pretty Face.)
Take a closer look at how the skeleton is mounted. Each bone is cradled in a hand-forged metal bracket, like a diamond in its setting. These brackets, though, are hinged and locked. Each individual bone can be unlocked and removed for research, then returned to its place.
It’s a unique solution to The Field Museum’s mission: to serve both science and the public.
Getting Into Sue
On the second-floor balcony, Sue’s nearly perfect skull is separately displayed. (Too heavy to be mounted on the skeleton, its stand-in there is a life-sized cast.) Here you really can come eye-to-eye, nose-to-snout with the great beast.
Here, too, are a variety of exhibits offering insights and enjoyment as visitors discover more about Sue and the scientific investigations that surround her:
• Touchable casts of selected bones let visitors "diagnose" some of the wounds that have been found in Sue’s skeleton.
• Animated CT images of the skull take visitors on a virtual journey inside Sue’s head.
• Video clips recap the story from Sue’s discovery to her arrival at The Field Museum.
• A time-lapse video shows the mounting of Sue’s colossal skeleton.
Just around the corner, near the McDonald’s® Fossil Preparation Lab, additional exhibits focus on the ongoing scientific study of T. rex in general and Sue in particular:
• How do we distinguish between fact, theory, and opinion? Visitors will discover that all three play valid roles—but that the distinctions are important.
• Has T. rex changed? While the species has been frozen in stone for millions of years, our image of the dinosaur certainly has shifted, both in science and in popular culture. An animated video shows how and why our views of T. rex continue to evolve.
• Two areas of interest for scientists are T. rex’s field of vision and the range of motion of its forelimbs. Sue may hold clues to both. Here visitors can explore the latest theories.
• Sue’s gastralia—her belly ribs—are not yet attached to her skeleton. Find out what scientists want to know before they take that step.
• The Sue you see owes both her beauty and her scientific usefulness to a cast of highly skilled preparators. We’re proud to showcase their work here.
Sue is Everywhere!
If your Museum visit leaves you wanting to know more about T. rex and its life and times—great! Visit Sue’s home page at our award-winning web site, www.fieldmuseum.org/Sue/. There you’ll find more background on Sue and her world, fabulous images of Sue’s unpacking and preparation, information on current exhibitions and research, and dinosaur-related games, puzzles, and activities for kids.
You’ll also find a link to the live web camera in our McDonald’s® Fossil Preparation Lab. Here you can watch, live, as preparators work on the Museum’s latest fossil finds.
If you can’t make it to Chicago for the real thing, you have some excellent viewing options: three life-size casts of the completed skeleton. One will be showcased in DinoLand U.S.A. in Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort. Two others will travel throughout the United States as part of McDonald’s Corporation’s Millennium celebration.
Special Family Night
Sue isn’t the only dinosaur being unveiled this May; Walt Disney Pictures is opening its spectacular new computer animated/live action movie, "Dinosaur." The Museum will sponsor a special screening of the movie on Friday, May 19, followed by a family celebration at The Field Museum. Admission is limited; call 312/665-7400 for information and tickets.
Contributing sponsors of the Sue exhibition include McDonald’s® Corporation, Walt Disney World Resort®, the California State University system, and private individuals.
Museum admission is $15 for adults; $10 for children ages 3-11, and $12 for students with ID and seniors; free on Wednesdays. There is no additional charge to see Sue.