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(no subject)

There has been so much discussion regarding Sue and the Black Hills
Institute lately That I thought this should be posted here in its
entirety.  This is a statement from the institute.  Anyone with comments
or questions
should reply to me and not the list.  Please read the quote completly
responding or getting out the flame thrower.


Countdown to October 4th

This issue of Written in Stone is a one time departure from our usual
format.  Questions and queries have inundated Black Hills Institute for
several months now via phone, letter and fax from concerned individuals
who do not know us, from friends, customers, and suppliers as well as
numerous magazine feature writers and reporters for various other
media.  The queries are variously phrased but their essence distills to
this, I believe, "How do we at black Hills Institute view the pending
auction of the Tyrannosaurus rex known world wide as "Sue" on Saturday,
4 October. This is our answer.

The very fact that the world at large knows this particular dinosaur as
SUE - the name we gave her - supports the reality that we at Black Hills

Institute have a unique relationship with this particular specimen of
Tyrannosaurus rex that is acknowledged by the media, many in the general

public and the community of paleontology. In our view (and obviously a
view held by many), the unique relationship between SUE and the
Institute enhances her mystique and her value. Well over forty thousand
people actually signed petitions across this country urging that SUE be
brought "home" to Black Hills Institute during the years of controversy
over her ownership.  These signatories come from every state in the
union and from numerous other countries.

Even the auction house that is preparing to sell her skeleton to the
highest bidder knew it could not ignore either the unique place that
Black Hills Institute holds in relationship to SUE or the Institute's
tremendous investment in her.  From the earliest days of their
guardianship, Sotheby's staff asked for and relieved advice and support
from Institute personnel to ensure that her skeleton was properly
handled.  They further sought and relieved background about her story
for the catalog featuring her remains for sale - from information about
her discovery, to her preparation, her scientific significance and her
public - even desiring to know how those who knew SUE best felt about
her.  These are people from the most successful of public auction houses

and it is quite obvious that in their view, SUE's relationship with
Black Hills Institute added value to an already magnificent fossil

All fossils bring to their discoverers and their ultimate caretakers, a
sense of history.  Few, if any though, bring to their owners a history
that has been documented, discussed, and debated by and in every media
venue available in the world today.  SUE's resume reads like that of a
head of state or a major star of stage and screen.  Her image has been
seen or described and her story has been told in video, on television,
radio, (even short-wave), on the internet and world wide web, in the
largest newspapers and most prestigious magazines around the world -
always accompanied by the history of her very special relationship to
Black Hills Institute and its owners and staff.

Consequently, as we at Black Hills Institute contemplate the coming
auction of SUE, we cannot help but ask ourselves the following

Can any individual or institution that pursues ownership of this
magnificent skeleton ignore the recent history that Sue brings with her?

Can any individual or institution that contemplates ownership of this
magnificent skeleton ignore the unique relationship with and long term
investment in this particular Tyrannosaurus rex that we at Black Hills
Institute have?

Or will it be necessary for any potential new owner to weigh the impact
this history will have on future decisions made about SUE, i.e. her
preparation, her location, the public access to this dinosaur they
already adore, access for the dozens of researchers who wish to study
her, and even who will be allowed access to her skeleton for study and

Will those thousands of people who signed petitions requesting that SUE
go "home" to Black Hills Institute, who have shared their feelings and
thoughts with their friends, neighbor, co-workers, and families, find it

acceptable for her to have a new owner and a new location?

How will a new caretaker choose to use or interpret SUE's unique
relationship with Black Hills Institute, that has until now added to the

public's interest in and mystique about this dinosaur, to increase her
value in many realms?

What will be the response of the public and paleontological community be

to those choices?

>From the beginning, the primary motivation behind all the Institutes
decisions regarding SUE, since the moment her remains were first seen,
has been and still is to do everything in our power to ensure that SUE
receives the best possible care.  We, of course, have also never
completely given up hope that someday SUE will return to Black Hills
Institute so that we, who are so well equipped to provide the highest
quality fossil preparation available, can complete the task we began so
earnestly and carefully seven years ago.  We also ardently desire the
opportunity to continue unraveling the scientific secrets still
encrypted in SUE's skeletal time capsule.  Whatever the outcome of the
auction on 4 October, SUE continues to "live" in our hearts and spirits.


posted by George Winters

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