On August 12, 1990, a fossil expert named Susan Hendrickson found three giant bones sticking out of a cliff in Faith, South Dakota. While the rest of us would see this reminiscent of an intro to a slasher movie, and run screaming, Hendrickson went on to uncover these bones as part of the most complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton on Earth.
Guess what this self-absorbed, wannabe Dr. Alan Grant named the 65 million-year-old bag of bones? Yep, Sue… what a narcissist.
The Black Hills Institute of Geological Research paid $5,000 to land owner Maurice Williams to begin a complete excavation of Sue. The skeleton was found to be 90 percent intact, and was quickly transported to the company headquarters in Hill City. Their president even announced the opening of a non-profit museum in the specimen’s honor… slow down there bud – things are about to get messy.
It turned out that Williams, part Native-American, had traded his property to a tribe to avoid taxes. This meant the skeleton was found on federal property, and all excavation rights contracts were void. It’s time the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research remove “research” from its name. You got played!
After the legal battle of the Cretaceous period was over, the skeleton was bought by the Chicago’s Field Museum at auction for $8.36 million.
Woah, they truly “spared no expense…”
Sue went on display permanently in May, 2000, right smack-dab in the middle of the museum’s great hall. Sue stands at 42 ft. from head to toe – she is one bad… (Oooohh shut yo mouth!)
Sue’s giant skeleton head is so heavy, that it had to be replaced with a reproduction. The standing skeleton wears a fake noggin, while the real 2000-pound skull is displayed in a glass case on the ground. (We’re talking 58, foot-long teeth at eye level!)
Sue’s skeleton has been instrumental in determining what we know about these dinosaurs. We’ve learned about T-Rex’s incredible sense of smell, it’s carnivorous thirst for blood and its wishbone. Finding T-Rex’s wishbone has led to the theory of dinosaurs being ancestors of modern-day birds. Hows that for a mind-blowing day in history?!