World’s Most Popular Dinosaur Gets New Look at Chicago Museum

05 January, 2019

In the early 1990s, scientist Sue Hendrickson discovered the world's largest Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur skeleton. It was found in rock formations in the American state of South Dakota. The skeleton is known as Sue, in honor of Hendrickson.

Visitors to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago have been able to see Sue since 2000. However, for most of 2018, Sue was nowhere to be seen. Instead, experts spent 10 months working on and adding to the world-famous skeleton.

Jaap Hoogstraten is the Field Museum's director of exhibitions. He says museum workers have learned new things about the skeleton's shape since 2000.

"Since 2000, we've made discoveries about the pose. We've added the gastralia, which are the belly ribs, which changes the outline of Sue quite a bit..."

The ribs themselves are not a new discovery. They have existed since the fossil was recovered. But scientists only recently understood how they fit onto the skeleton.

That understanding greatly changes what is known about the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Hilary Hansen is the Field Museum project manager.

"I didn't really realize that Sue weighed nine tons in real life. Really, adding this gastralia, these belly ribs, really changes the profile for Sue, and you can get a sense of how formidable and imposing it must have been to share an environment with this animal."

Hansen adds that Sue's newly opened exhibit changes our understanding of the animal itself. It also helps show visitors Sue's natural environment and place in history.

"What we're trying to do is bring together everything about Sue that was all over the Field museum into one space so that our visitors can see this as a one-stop shop for all things Sue."

The Field Museum usually welcomes over one million visitors a year. But Hansen expects that number to increase because of the new Sue exhibit. She said the museum is expecting up to 10,000 visitors each day in the first weeks of 2019.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

Kane Farabaugh reported this story for the VOA News. Jonathan Evans adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

exhibition – n. an event at which objects such as works of art are put out in a public space for people to look at; a public show of something

belly – n. the part of an animal's body that contains the stomach

rib – n. any one of the curved bones of the chest that connect to the spine

formidable – adj. very powerful or strong; deserving serious attention and respect

imposing – adj. very large or impressive

museum – n. a building in which interesting and valuable things such as paintings and sculptures or scientific or historical objects are collected and shown to the public