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Re: Sue on ABC



The eagerly anticipated but uncertain show time of Sue
on ABC was settled last night when both Sues got the 15 
minute treatment on ABC's program 20/20.  For anyone
who had watched the coverage of the _T. rex_ Sue's 
debut at the Field last week, the 20/20 feature 
contained no new information--more interviews with Sue
Hendrickson and Pete Larson, videos of the dig site, 
the FBI raid, the auction, the fossil, and a plug for 
the new book.  No science.

Two things that have bothered me during the past week's
coverage are the concentration on the human aspect of 
the story and the anthropomorphizing of Sue the _T. 
rex_.  Folklore and legend come to mind in the
retelling of the find, and it just keeps getting better
and better.  The program's title of 20/20 also 
describes the genius of hindsight in recalling events.

I was fully expecting to hear that Sue the _T. rex_ was 
singing a siren song from out of the cliffs in her 
selective call to be found.  While I do not deny that
association with a fossil as complete as is this 
specimen has the power to affect the human mind, we 
also have the tendency to project our feelings and 
needs back onto the discoveries.  Was this _T. rex_ 
communicating across the ages?  It was once alive, but 
so was the _Acrocanthosaurus_ in Raleigh, and it
doesn't seem to be tapping out messages.  If a _T. rex_
wanted to channel through anyone, it would probably 
have already contacted Tom Holtz, who has said that as 
a child he thought he could actually grow up to BE a dinosaur.  

So, I hope that the attention now shifts to the 
_Tyrannosaurus rex_ that lived 67 million years ago.  I 
doubt that it had its own symphonic piece to hum while 
hunting the living or the dead.  With less emphasis on 
the finding and more on the find come the really
interesting and valuable aspects of the life of this
dinosaur, who never met a human--it liked or didn't 
like.

Mary
mkirkaldy@aol.com