Somewhere in the gulf between paleontology and sanity....
Monday, May 17, 2010
and We Built Her!
Is what the tagline on our official Sue Crew t-shirts said. Today is the ten year anniversary of Sue the T. rex's unveiling at the Field Museum. A whole lot of hoopla was involved in every aspect of this critter, and rather than get into any sentimental recollections about the great crew or the exciting project, I'll let Chris Brochu do the talking...
"In a sense, working with FMNH PR2081 has been a good example of what Sagan (1997) called "the marriage of skepticism and wonder." This animal may have died alone of old age, with not a scratch on him or her, but this was a 41 foot long bipedal carnivorous dinosaur. It had foot-long teeth, olfactory bulbs the size of grapefruit, and the capacity to balance an enormous head and massive tail on only two legs. Such an animal needs no embelishment."
Brochu, C.R. 2003. Osteology of Tyrannosaurus rex: insights from a nearly complete skeleton and high-resolution computed tomographic analysis of the skull. Memoirs of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. 7: 1–138.
Matthew Brown works in a slightly obscure corner of paleontology doing work called fossil preparation. Fossil preparators spend most of their time actually doing what most people think all paleontologists do all day. He has worked for the University of Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History, the National Park Service at Petrified Forest, and currently the University of Texas at Austin. Now residing in Swinging South Austin, he recently lived off the grid in a dome in the middle of the Painted Desert, where his cat Jake was eaten by a bobcat, coyote, mountain lion, or phytosaur. Gustav, Jake's replacement, fared pretty well, and stayed behind in Arizona to guard the house.