Greensboro Science Center to host replica of T. rex skeleton
All hyperbole aside, that’s one colossal fossil that’s coming to Greensboro next month.
Greensboro Science Center officials Monday announced that the traveling exhibit, “A T. rex Named Sue” — featuring a full-size, fully articulated skeleton cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex — will open Jan. 18 at the popular science center.
“Sue is a very recognizable name in the dinosaur world, and she’s coming here,” said Lindsey Zarecky, vice president of visitor affairs for the Greensboro Science Center. “People who know dinosaurs will recognize Sue’s name, because she was such a significant find.”
When fossil hunter Sue Hendrickson discovered the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex near Faith, S.D., in the summer of 1990, it was considered one of the most significant fossil finds to date. Because the skeleton was nearly 90-percent complete and so well-preserved, the find allowed for detailed information to be obtained about the giant reptile’s biology, growth and behavior.
According to a description on the website of The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, where the original skeleton is on permanent display, Sue is “the largest, most complete, best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex in the world. ... She sets the record for overall length (40.5 feet) and skeletal weight (3,922 pounds). Out of the more than 30 T. rex skeletons discovered so far, Sue’s beefy bones beat them all.”
The description points out that almost all of Sue’s skeleton is preserved in great detail.
“Scientists can actually see where muscles, tendons and ligaments once attached,” the description reads. “And not only are most of the bones undistorted from fossilization, but cross-sections of the bones show that even the cellular structure inside remains intact.”
That’s why the discovery of Sue was so significant, and why Greensboro Science Center officials are so excited to have “A T. rex Named Sue” opening there next month.
The traveling exhibition will remain at the science center through May 4.
“We will have a replica of the whole T. rex,” Zarecky said. “It’s 42 feet long, and it’s 12 feet high at the hips, so this is quite an impressive fossil we’ll have here. We’ll also have about 10 different interactive kiosks showing how she moved, how she killed her prey and things like that.”
In addition, visitors will be able to get hands-on with replicas of Sue’s arm bone, tail, rib and teeth. Visitors will also have the opportunity to watch footage of the real Sue being excavated, and to test their knowledge of dinosaur trivia.
“We’ll also have a fossil dig in the exhibit area that children can play in,” Zarecky added.
Prior to the opening of the exhibit, the science center will offer a sneak preview for its members, she said.
“This is a great opportunity for people,” Zarecky said. “Because we have a zoological park, we have a really big alligator snapping turtle, and we have crocodiles. We have these ‘living dinosaurs,’ so it’s a unique opportunity to see what’s here now and what was here back during that time of the real dinosaurs.”
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Want to go?
“A T. rex Named Sue” will be on exhibit Jan. 18 through May 4 at the Greensboro Science Center, 4301 Lawndale Drive.
A sneak preview will be offered for members of the science center.
Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Admission to see the exhibit — $10 for adults, $9 for children ages 3-13 and for seniors 65 and over — is in addition to the science center’s general admission fees ($12.50/$11.50). Science center members and children 2 and younger get in the museum free, but still must pay to see the exhibit. Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more.
For more information, call the science center at (336) 288-3769 or visit www.greensboroscience.org.