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Boston "Sue" exhibit



I was at the Boston Museum of Science today and listened for quite a while
to "wows" and "ohhhhh's" and "is it real?" comments from the hundreds of
kids surrounding the cast of Sue's skeleton.  The Boston cast appears to
mounted in a manner similar to the way the original is mounted in
Chicago--head down, in mid stride, looking slightly to the left (at the
crowd).  Alternating floor mounted colored lights gave the specimen an eerie
appearance and a bit of a sense of movement.

Sue was >the< attraction at the museum, although it was oddly separate from
other dinosaur material and was not advertised well either in the local
press or within the museum itself.  In another corner of the museum, a
permanent display includes a cast of the AMNH T. rex skull (the articular
surfaces on Sue's surangulars (angulars?) seem >much< larger relatively than
those on the AMNH specimen---I wish I'd heard Tom Holtz's talk at SVP 98 on
the T. rex head and neck muscles) the skull of a _Gigantosaurus_, a complete
_Triceratops_ , several dinosaur trackways and some wonderful old (40's,
50's and 60's) paintings and fleshed out scale sculptures of dinosaurs and
other Mesozoic critters. The museum's sculptural reproduction of an
overweight, plodding, tail dragging T rex is still there (which I remember
fondly from the 60's but which I think goes back to the 40's) --but this
time it's holding a humorous sign saying "Welcome Sue--I've been lonely for
so long!"  Too bad they couldn't have been exhibited together; it would have
made for a striking example of the "evolution" of scientific thinking about
dinosaurs.

I took a bunch of pics which I'll post if anyone has an interest. I'm not
sure how much, if any, adjustments to the bones were made from the original
so I'm not sure if anyone will necessarily find photos of a cast very
informative. The Sue skull casts (there were two--one mounted on the
skeleton and one mounted in the lobby on a rotating pedestal at eye level)
looked fairly symmetrical, which I don't think is the case with the original
skull--I think the original is somewhat flattened medio-laterally--so I
suspect some corrections may have been made there.  And the pathological
characters of the bone--healed fractures, infections and who knows what
else--were fascinating.  This was one tough old bird :)

PTN