The skeleton of a tyrannosaurus is found in South Dakota
Millions and millions of years before humans roamed the earth, gigantic creatures called dinosaurs did, living in prehistoric ages when continents didn’t even bear the same borders. Flash forward to modern times – 1990, to be exact – when fossil hunter Susan Hendrickson found three massive bones peaking out from a cliff near Faith, South Dakota. Hendrickson’s employer, the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, paid the landowner $5,000 to excavate, after which they discovered the skeleton of a tyrannosaurus rex that was nearly 90% complete. The t-rex was dubbed “Sue,” after its discoverer, and became the subject of a long custody battle among different institutions staking a claim over the dinosaur. Eventually, Sue was purchased during a Sotheby’s auction by Chicago’s Field Museum, where she lives today. She stands in one of the Field’s main exhibit halls, 13 feet high and 42 feet long. Her 2,000-pound skull bears 58 teeth, some as long as a human forearm. Her incredibly well-preserved bones have given paleontologists amazing insight into the biology of dinosaurs, how they hunted, and their connection to today’s living creatures like birds.
Why do you think it’s difficult for scientists to find well-preserved fossils? Why do we want to know so much about dinosaurs?