May 17th

2000 – Sue goes on display at the Field Museum

On this day in dinosaurs, the tyrant lizard queen made her royal debut in Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

Sue’s unveiling in 2000 / The Mash
Sue’s story could have been much different. After seizure from her discoverers, a range of legal troubles, and an auction house scramble, Sue didn’t fall into the hands of a secretive private collector as feared. She assumed a place of honor at one of the most prestigious institutions in the world.

Her skeleton–the largest and most complete remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex ever found–were theatrically unveiled to an eager public ten years after her initial discovery in South Dakota. Almost two decades later, Sue is continuing to reveal more about how her kind lived and died. She is riddled with injuries and infections. She likely had arthritis and gout. She lived for 28 years, but the cause of her death is still uncertain.

Today, Sue is an icon not just for Chicago’s Field Museum, but for dinosaur paleontology as an enterprise. She is a testament to how much we can learn about the past, and a monument to our perseverance in pursuing the mysteries of the Mesozoic.

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