If you ever wish to see the fossils of the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever found on Earth, plan a trip to Chicago and head for the Field Museum of Natural History.
Sue is a sensation. It’s not just that she’s 42 ft long and 65 million years old. She’s the world’s most complete, best preserved, and largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.
Amazingly, more than 200 of Sue’s bones were found in good condition. The skeleton includes the most complete T. rex tail ever found, as well as one of only two T. rex arms ever found.
Sue’s skull contains the longest T. rex tooth yet known— a foot long.
One amazing discovery in Sue’s skeleton is that she has a wishbone, or furcula, such as you would find in most bird skeletons. This is the first wishbone found on a T. rex.
It supports the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs, either directly or from a common ancestor.
T Rex the deadly predator
The fossil was discovered during the summer of 1990 by paleontologist Sue Hendrickson, who it was named after.
Sue has a length of 12.3 meters and stands at an astonishing 3.66 meters tall at the hips. It is estimated that it had weighed around 6.4 to 10.2 metric tons when it was alive. Sue was discovered at the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, in the area of western South Dakota, and near to the city of Faith.
The discovery followed after a 1990 expedition by the Black Hills Institute, who were looking for fossils in the area.
According to scientists, the well-preserved condition of the specimen is due to it being covered by mud and water soon after its death, which prevented other animals feeding on the corpse and the bones. In addition, the bones had been mingled together by rushing water.
When Sue was finally reconstructed, the museum’s paleontologists were able to then begin the study of the skeleton. In addition to photographing and studying each bone, the team also used CT scanning of selected bones.
The skull remained a challenge as it was unfit for any CT scanner. Consequently, the Boeing’s Rocketdyne Lab in California had allowed the museum to use their huge CT scanner which was normally used to inspect space shuttle parts.
Sue can be seen in all her glory at The Field Museum in Chicago, and as a millennial and modern T. rex, also tweets from the account @SUEtheTrex on Twitter.