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PALEONEWS:By any measure, Sue is big.
This is a CNN custom news article.
CNN has changed formats so I can not give you the URL.
I recommend registering at cnn.com for your own custom
news to access the article online-
furthermore there are embedded pictures in the original article, one of
the shrouded Sue mount and a close up of Sue's skull PLUS a link to a
BBS on Sue and dinosaurs in general:
Field Museum's Display of T. Rex Is Expected to Be a Blockbuster
May 17, 2000 Web posted at: 7:55 a.m. EDT (1155 GMT)
CHICAGO (AP) -- By any measure, Sue is big.
Standing 13 feet tall at the hips and stretching 41 feet long with teeth
as long as your forearm, Sue is the largest, most complete and
best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever discovered.
But Sue is also a big event.
With Hollywood-style razzle-dazzle, the reassembled skeleton goes on
display Wednesday for the first time.
In advance of the opening at Chicago's Field Museum, dinosaur logos are
plastered on T-shirts and city buses, and the final look of the exhibit
is shrouded in secrecy.
Sue, named after Sue Hendrickson, the fossil hunter who found her in
1990 in the badlands of South Dakota, cost the natural history museum
$8.36 million at an auction that had been delayed for years by a
drawn-out legal battle that ended with Hendrickson's partner in jail.
To cover the cost of the 65-million-year-old carnivore, the Field took
on two mega-corporate partners, McDonald's and Disney. Both get
exclusive rights to casts of Sue's bones.
But only the Field Museum's visitors get to see the bones themselves.
The museum will display her (It's called a "her," but scientists cannot
say for sure whether Sue was male or female) in the main hall.
Her one-ton skull, too heavy to be mounted with the rest of the
skeleton, will be displayed in a case nearby. A lightweight cast will
replace it on the skeleton.
"People, in all the alternatives they have in computer games, shopping,
the Internet ...love real things," Field President John McCarter said.
The Sue exhibit is an example of an emerging blockbuster mentality
among museums that are trying to compete with movies, theme parks, and
sports for family free time. Big projects mean big money, which often
means corporate sponsors.
"Museums about 20 years ago began to make themselves intellectually
accessible to the public," said Edward Able Jr., president of the
American Association of Museums. They moved away from static, dusty
displays toward more entertaining, easier-to-understand fare, he said.
The more entertaining approach -- along with the robust economy and an
increase in popular interest in science -- has contributed to a 50
percent increase in U.S. museum attendance over the past 10 years, Able
At the Field, the creators of the Sue exhibit sought to make it both fun
"We have a couple of people here on staff who come to me and say, 'This
is not the museum of my childhood,"' McCarter said. "And it's not!"
The exhibit explain facts and theories about Sue, and explodes some
Hollywood myths along the way.
For example, it explains that an examination of Sue's skull with an
industrial CT scanner yielded the theory that the T. rex's olfactory
bulbs -- which control the sense of smell -- were each bigger than the
cerebrum, the thinking part of the brain.
"Remember the scene in 'Jurassic Park' with the T. rex?" asked the
exhibit's assistant developer, Becky Margolin. "When Sam Neill was
telling the kids if you don't move, it can't see you? The thing we can
now theorize is that he definitely would have smelled them and would
have eaten them anyway."
More findings by Field researchers will be introduced in the exhibit as
"It enables us to use the dinosaur as an introduction to the study of
paleontology," McCarter said. "It's a wonderful way to share science."
Flying Goat Graphics
(Society of Vertebrate Paleontology member)