In case you aren’t up to date with Twitter, Sue the T. rex has been tweeting up a storm in the last nine years and has quickly found itself as the most beloved dinosaur on in the Twitter-sphere. Most recently, though, the 67-million-year-old dino has been flaunting its new digs at Chicago’s Field Museum. After years off display, Sue announced on December 17th on Twitter: ‘All right, we had some laughs and fun on this site [Twitter]. But playtime is over… I’M BACK ON DISPLAY THIS WEEK AND EVERYTHING ELSE PALES IN COMPARISON RIGHT NOW.’
The new exhibition space will allow for a closer look at Sue. After the T. rex’s last stint on display – nearly 20 years in the main hall of the museum – the Field Museum is ‘telling the story of Sue as an individual Dinosaur,’ says Field Museum curator of dinosaurs Pete Makovicky. The impressive new suite highlights Sue’s history but also the sheer size of the dino. ‘[T]he smaller room gives a much better idea of the size of this enormous dinosaur,’ continued Makovicky, ‘[w]e made a number of changes, and the biggest one is that we mounted the gastralia [belly ribs], helping convey how massive this animal was.’
Bought in 1997, Sue is the most expensive dino purchased at auction for $8.4 million. The skeletal remains of Sue are also the largest, most complete set of T. rex bones discovered to date. The remains were named for Sue Hendrickson, one of the discoverers who helped find the T. rex while digging in South Dakota. However, you’ll never see a tweet with Sue referring to itself has a girl. Why? We aren’t entirely sure whether Sue is a male or female T. rex. We do know, though, that since joining Twitter in 2009, the dino has made a splash accruing over 50,000 followers. Following Sue’s debut in the new facility, hundreds have tweeted photos of the T. rex and selfies with Sue in the new exhibition. The museum – and Sue – has also felt the support of non-binary members of the community as well given the museum commitment not to assign the dino a gender according to Kate Golembiewski, PR and science communications manager for the Field Museum.
The 40-foot-long apex predator has shown its love for Chevy Chase in ‘National Lampoons Christmas Vacation’ – set in Illinois, just like Sue – and Chicago sports teams. Sue is also, though, helping to make the museum more accessible. ‘One of our goals as a museum is to make science something that is accessible and welcoming for everybody,’ continued Golembiewski. Moreover, Sue has reached out to people not only in the Chicago area. According to Katharine Uhrich, social media manager for the Field Museum, only 17% of Sue’s followers are from the city. While friendly banter makes up a large portion of Sue’s correspondences, the dino also engages in informative threads answering questions to the public.
Sue is easily found on Twitter at @SUEtheTrex but you can also visit the famous dino’s new spot at the Field Museum in Chicago.