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RE: Sue Photos Online (Good ones!)



> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> chris brochu
>
> >Which is why it is questionable practice to mount real bones in the first
> >place.  In the nineteenth century they didn't know any better, but these
> >days it is an odd thing to do.
> >
> >Why was this done with Sue?
>
> Because, overall, people want to see the real thing.  I also had
> misgivings
> at first about mounting the real bones, but the group that mounted it was
> able to construct a framework that required no damage to any of the bones,
> and we are able to remove any one of them for research purposes.
> The skull
> is mounted on  a wheeled base that can be pulled out of its case if
> necessary.  That was one of our non-negotiable conditions at the beginning
> - no bones were to be modified for the mount.  I am satisfied that we've
> come as close as possible to fulfilling the dual (and sometimes
> conflicting) goals of making Sue a research specimen and an exhibit.

To which I might add: thank you, FMNH!!  I, too, had some rather obvious
problems about this specimen being mounted (as, not to put to fine a point
on it, I am far more likely than most people on the list to actually have a
professional need to see some of those individual bones up close).  When I
was told about their innovative techniques for mounting this specimen, I was
much relieved.  The folks at the Field have done an excellent job,
especially given their time constraints.  Congratulations!

> Another reason, which I learned the hard way while working on Il Monstro -
> for some larger fossils, it is easier to study the material if
> mounted than
> if not.  Try lifting a large tyrannosaur femur to see the other side, and
> you'll see what I mean.  (The first part of Sue I ever saw was the left
> ilium.  A big croc left ilium fits in your hand.  Sue's filled a table.
> The scale was a bit different from what I'd grown accustomed to.)

Hell, Sue is big even for a tyrannosaur.  A few years ago, when Il Monstro
was still at Sotheby's, I had opportunity (thanks, Mary!!) to see the
material first hand.  Dale Russell was also on hand.  At one point, he
handed me a long bone.  I looked at it, blinked, and then it registered:
this was the proximal part of a third metatarsal (a bone with which I had
some passing familiarity...) but on a scale that blew away the typical
_Alberto._, _Gorgo._, and _Daspletosaurus_ material I was more used to
measuring.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843>