This bilingual exhibit presents the story of “Sue,” the largest, most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever unearthed. It features a life-size, 42-foot-long cast of the dinosaur and family-friendly interactive components exploring the paleontology that has helped scientists reconstruct Sue’s life and legacy.
One of the largest flesh-eaters to have ever inhabited the Earth, Sue roamed North America about 67 million years ago. The T. rex is named for Sue Hendrickson, who discovered the dinosaur in 1990 near Faith, South Dakota.
The exhibit follows the dinosaur’s extraordinary journey from the Cretaceous period and sedimentary rocks of South Dakota to the U.S. courts and finally the world. The exhibit explores T. rex’s interactions with its Cretaceous environment, Sue’s instrumental role in unlocking many secrets of the species and the often creative methods of fossil preparation and study.
About 50 T. rex specimens have been discovered to date and only about one-quarter of these are considered more than 50% complete. At 90 percent complete and extremely well-preserved, Sue is the most celebrated representative of its species, allowing new detailed studies of the biology, growth and behavior of T. rex.
Sue received renewed attention this fall with the release of Dinosaur 13, a film about Sue’s discovery and the legal troubles of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, the for-profit group who found and excavated the fossil. Film reviewers have described Dinosaur 13 as “engrossing,” “awe-inspiring” and “a scientific soap opera.” Critics contend that the film ignores broader ethical issues of for-profit paleontology and potentially confuses the public by failing to make clear that the criminal convictions depicted in the film were unrelated to Sue.
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