|Sue vs the Field Museum's massive foyer.|
After receiving a substantial donation from the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund, the FM set about renovating its prehistoric displays. The first part was moving Sue from the museums’ cathedral like foyer, then replacing the tyrannosaur with a dinosaur that would fit inside this space. Enter Maximo, the Patagotitan replacement for Sue that now dominates this hall.
Next, after decades of work looking for fossils in Antarctica, the FM used part of this donation to create the Antarctica Dinosaur display that is about to finish its short-term run-in Chicago and head out to museums across the world.
- Gastralia. These ‘belly-ribs’ are not actually part of the ribcage but are more like the bottom armour seen on turtles. These are rarely displayed, and Sue’s have never been associated with the actual skeleton (previously they were in their own display case one floor above the old exhibit).
- Right leg. The original display had Sue stepping up onto a ledge, which looked somewhat dramatic but actually meant the right leg was out of position (the knee would have been dislocated when alive). The move meant this issue could be fixed, and Sue’s right leg is now in a far more life-like position.
- Wishbone. Sue was famous for being one of the first T. rex’s to have an identified wishbone, yet recently the opinion has grown that this bone was actually a stray rib from further back near the legs. Wishbones on other specimens have been found since Sue was put together, and this led to another bone being identified as the correct fossil.
- Jaw. Though originally not hung incorrectly, the lower jaw
has been slung a lot lower. This has given Sue a much larger gape, creating a
far more fearsome visage.
- Shoulders. Both shoulder blades were brought forward and lowered, (jokingly) this means Sue could clap (note- this is not my joke but paleontologist Pete Makovicky’s during our training….so blame him :P ) .
- Ribcage. The rearrangement of the shoulders meant many other things were changed, including the ribs, which were hung with a greater angle. Previously they were hung horizontally.
Around Sue are a number of stations with touch screen displays and many of the dinosaur’s fossils cast in bronze for visitors to touch.
Another is a possible explanation of how Sue received that horrible leg wound that was likely the cause of death after it grew infected. A feeding triceratops is attacked by Sue, thrilling so many of us who grew up with these two eternal enemies fighting it out in our sandboxes in plastic dinosaur form when we were kids. The Triceratops, however, proves to be more than a match for poor ol’ Sue, who receives a nasty wound to the leg.
One is the skullcap of a pachycephalosaur, another the armoured scute of an ankylosaur, and their presence explains why both herbivores are featured in the Sue videos.