Tyrannosaurus Rex in Chicago

By George Grow

This is Bill White with the VOA Special English SCIENCE REPORT.

Many people are visiting a museum in Chicago, Illinois to see the largest and most complete set of bones of a huge dinosaur ever found. The Field Museum of Natural History is the new home of the Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil. Crowds gathered there last week for opening ceremonies.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex lived sixty-seven-million years ago. It was a fierce meat-eating creature. The fossil is more than twelve meters long and four meters tall.

The dinosaur fossil is called Sue. It is named for Susan Hendrickson, the scientist who discovered it. She found the bones in South Dakota ten years ago. She found them on land owned by Maurice Williams, a Native American of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

Peter Larson led the team that dug the huge dinosaur out of the earth. He is the president of the Black Hills Institute for Geological Research.

The Black Hills team was looking for fossils on Mr. Williams' land. Susan Hendrickson found the fossil by accident while she was walking around the area. She looked up and saw a huge leg bone and three back bones sticking out of a hill about two meters above her head. She immediately recognized them as bones of a dinosaur. She had found the largest, best protected and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex ever discovered. The scientific team found ninety percent of Sue's bones.

The bones show that Sue had a violent life and death. Teeth marks across its head show that it was attacked by another Tyrannosaurus Rex. The other dinosaur ate part of Sue's body before leaving it in a small river. Water, sand and small stones buried the body. This material hardened into rock. It protected the bones almost perfectly for millions of years. But wind and weather wore away the rock.

Scientists say Sue is the first Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil ever found with a small ear bone called a stapes. It also has the first furcula, or wishbone, ever found in a Tyrannosaurus. Scientists say those bones will help them better understand the link between dinosaurs and birds.

Two years ago, the Field Museum paid more than eight-million dollars for the fossil. Several other people and groups attempted to buy it. But the Museum offered the highest price. It had help from two major companies - Disney and McDonald's.

This VOA Special English SCIENCE REPORT was written by George Grow. This is Bill White.