clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Field Museum is moving SUE the T. rex—visit to see the process begin

The ancient fossil wants you to say goodbye—and maybe bring some ham


The Field Museum announced, in probably the best news release written ever, that SUE the T. rex has an official moving date.

All “enSUEsiasts” are welcome to send off the largest and most complete T. rex specimen with a bon voyage. Visitors can watch the process of SUE’s removal beginning at noon on February 5 in Stanley Field Hall. And bonus, free admission is offered all month long to Illinois residents.

If you happen to visit, “offerings of ham are not required, but graciously accepted,” the extinct predator said in the news release.

SUE will have a new home in spring 2019, and a 122-foot, plant-eating titanosaur will settle into Stanley Field Hall along with a flock of pterosaurs and giant hanging gardens.

Caretakers will start removing SUE beginning with their feet and tail. Yes, despite what might sound like a feminine name, this fossil’s preferred pronouns are they/them/their.

SUE took a moment to explain this in the news release:

Another change to note: since my original unveiling 18 years ago, scientific opinion on determining the sex of tyrannosaurs has lacked sufficient data. As such, I would like to state that my preferred pronouns are “they/them” to refer to me in the third person. As in, “SUE is a T. rex. They are a majestic murderbird, and Chicago is lucky they grace the city with their presence.”

Before this giant murderbird moves upstairs to a “private suite” in the permanent Evolving Planet exhibition, caretakers will make a few scientific changes. Since SUE first arrived at the museum in 2000, scientists have learned more about a set of bones similar to ribs called gastralia.

These are rarely preserved and not much was known about them when SUE was first put together. Now, scientists believe that gastralia in dinosaurs helped them breathe. Kind of similar to a diaphragm in mammals.

“T. rex had a bulging belly,” explained Associate Curator of Dinosaurs Pete Makovicky, “It wasn’t sleek and gazelle-like the way you might think from looking at SUE now without their gastralia. We’ll also update their body stance, so SUE will be walking rather than skulking, the arms will come down a little, and we’ll readjust their wishbone.”

Even though SUE might be out of sight, you can keep up with them on Twitter (and you really should give them a follow).