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SUE The T-Rex Is Going Off Display For A Year, To Be Replaced At Museum Entrance By 'World's Largest Dinosaur'

By Stephen Gossett in News on Aug 30, 2017 3:40PM

Sue the T-Rex. Photo via Twitter.

Some literally massive changes are afoot at the Field Museum, as the beloved SUE the T. Rex will be moving from its famous entryway mount to a new gallery, making way for a touchable cast of a mammoth titanosaur—the world's largest, in fact. The move means our dear old SUE will be out of public view for more than a year—although SUE does seem quite happy about getting a "private suite."

The massive newcomer is cast from bones of Patagotitan mayorum and stretches longer that two CTA accordion buses and is so tall that it stands eye-to-eye with the second floor balcony, according to Field. “The titanosaur is huge, and it’ll look right at home in Stanley Field Hall,” said Senior Exhibitions Project Manager Hilary Hansen in a release. “It’s a big, majestic space, which will be the perfect backdrop for the world’s largest dinosaur.”

But that sheer size of course means that SUE will have to vacate their iconic perch (SUE prefers they/them pronouns, don't you know?). The fan favorite is also undergoing some upgrades during the big move—which explains why the dino will be off exhibition for such an extended time: SUE will be taken down in February of next year and won't be unveiled in the new gallery until spring of 2019.

As for SUE, our old friend is taking the move news the best way they know how, by yucking it up on social media, where SUE described their new digs as a "SPECIAL THRONE ROOM" and championed the new location's "better defensible position against velociraptor attacks and reduced exposure to possible meteorite collisions."

The Stanley Field Hall that SUE currently calls home has actually seen numerous exhibition fluctuations over the decades, with big shifts occurring in the mid-90s and again in 2000, with SUE, the Field noted. "There’s always a lot of change in that space as we find new ways to share our science with the public," said Head of Geological Collections Bill Simpson in a release.

When SUE does make their triumphant return, the icon's most noticeable upgrade will be the addition of gastralia, a series of bones near the belly that look similar to ribs. Only after more research was conducted since the time of SUE's unveiling, in 2000, do scientists feel confident about where they will be placed.

Another exciting change: SUE will also be repositioned to stand more upright ("walking rather than skulking," as Associate Curator of Dinosaurs Pete Makovicky put it). The new gallery will also place SUE alongside fossils from the dinosaur's era, in hopes of drawing a better historical context than the great entry room provided.

As for SUE's replacement, the titanosaur will be on view starting in late spring next year. Some of the dinosaur's actual bones— including an 8-foot-long thighbone—will be on display along with the cast. Sounds cool, but right now we're just thinking about getting some face time with SUE before February.