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On This Day… The Worlds Most Complete T Rex

Written by: George Chittenden : 12 Aug 2019

It was on this day, 12th August, back in 1990 when Sue, the world’s most complete t-rex skeleton was discovered in South Dakota. The discovery was made by a team from the Black Hills Institute, which is in Hill City. That summer they were searching for fossils at the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in western South Dakota near the city of Faith.

Sue, the world’s most complete t-rex skeleton

Sue, the world’s most complete t-rex skeleton

Sue Hendrickson, an explorer and fossil collector was walking along the base of a cliff, when she discovered some small pieces of bone. Searching above her to see where the bones had originated, she noticed larger bones protruding from the wall of the cliff. Rushing back to camp she reported the discovery to the president of the Black Hills Institute, Peter Larson, and he determined that the bones were from a Tyrannosaurus rex.

Sue Hendrickson, explorer and fossil collector

Sue Hendrickson, explorer and fossil collector

The specimen was of course named after Sue Hendrickson who made the amazing discovery. Sue proved to be the largest, most extensive, and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimens ever found. With Sue only the smaller bones were missing; whereas other Tyrannosaurus rexes had been at most 40 per cent complete, Sue was more than 90 per cent. Following a legal dispute over ownership Sue was auctioned in October 1997, for US $8.3 million and is now a permanent feature at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.

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