Welcome to my tribute to Tyrannosaurus Sue

Sue model

Sculptor Brian Cooley's 1/3 life-size model of what Sue
may have looked like when she was alive.


The largest Tyrannosaurus ever discovered, Sue stretches 42 feet (12.8 m) from head to tail
and stands 13 feet (4 m) high at the hips. Scientists estimate that she weighed about
14,000 lbs. (6400 kg) when she was alive.


It's obvious how Sue got her scientific name, Tyrannosaurus rex
-- from the Greek and Latin for "tyrant lizard king."

T-rex teeth

Sue's huge jaws held 58 teeth up to 12 inches (30 cm) in length. About two thirds of each
tooth was deeply rooted in the jawbone. The edges of the teeth were sharp
as knives and serrated. Unlike mammals, dinosaurs were able to grow
new teeth to replace those that were lost or broken. Several new
teeth can be seen emerging from Sue's upper and lower jaws.

T-rex head

The steel armature that supports Sue's skeleton can not hold her massive 600 lb.
(272 kg) skull -- so she was fitted with a light but accurate casting...

T-rex skull

...while Sue's actual 5-foot-long (1.5 m) skull is on display on the museum's second floor.

T-rex 'wishbone'

Scientists who study the evolution of birds and dinosaurs are very excited about finding Sue's
boomerang-shaped furcula or wishbone. It's the first one found in a Tyrannosaurus.
Wishbones are possessed only by similar meat eating dinosaurs -- and all
birds -- which some scientists believe are "modern dinosaurs."

Smithsonian T-rex

Here is the T-rex at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in
Washington, DC. Not only is the furcula bone missing, the dinosaur's
shoulder bones and arms were placed too closely as a result.


Sue lived about 67 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period. She was discovered
August 12, 1990 on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota
by fossil hunter Sue Hendrickson. On Oct. 4, 1997, the Field Museum
purchased the dinosaur at a Sotheby auction for $8.36 million,
with financial support from McDonald's Corporation, Walt
Disney World Resort, and private individuals.


Sue's remarkably well preserved "gastralia" are another exciting find. These bones
grew under the skin covering the dinosaur's abdomen and/or thorax and are seldom
found among fossils. Although rib like, they were not attached to the actual ribs or
other bones. As a result, scientists are not sure how they were positioned in life,
which is why they are in a display case and not yet attached to Sue. Scientists
hope these bones will provide clues as to their position and function. It is
thought that they helped to protect the dinosaur's vital organs and may
also have helped it breathe. Mammals breathe with the help of a
diaphragm. Reptiles and birds are "rib breathers." Dinosaurs
probably were too.


"You all come back now, ya hear?"

New!   "The Tyrannosaurus Collection Screen Saver"

Featuring 35 photographs of the "kings of the tyrant lizards"

The Tyrannosaurus Collection Screen Saver

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© 2000 Andrew A. Skolnick - All rights reserved.

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