9780716740179 / 0716740176

Tyrannosaurus Sue: The Extraordinary Saga of the Largest, Most Fought Over T-Rex Ever Found


Publisher:W.H. Freeman & Company



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About the book:

How much is that T. Rex in the window? Journalist Steve Fiffer looks at the most contentious paleontological find ever in Tyrannosaurus Sue. This scientific, sociological and legal study is entertaining and insightful, highlighting the personalities of the researchers, attorneys and tribal and federal authorities who struggled for years over the ownership rights to the best-preserved Rex specimen yet found. From its discovery in South Dakota in 1990 by Susan Hendrickson and Peter Larson through the tortuous court cases to decide its fate to the final auction at Sotheby's, Fiffer finds just the right words to describe the action, a particularly difficult task given the conflicting reports of contesting witnesses. Professional jealousy and academic elitism (or concern for valuable scientific material and Indian property rights) led to accusations of illegal collecting and the seizure of the skeleton by federal agents shortly after its move to Larson's Black Hills Institute. Suits, countersuits and indictments escalated the struggle into an all-out war with vast sums of money and professional reputations at stake. In the end, Larson was imprisoned as an example to illegal collectors despite his sincere belief that he had worked within the law, and Sue was awarded to property owner Maurice Williams and purchased for over $8 million by Chicago's Field Museum with the assistance of the McDonald's and Disney corporations. Tyrannosaurus Sue is a riveting tale, well-written and just unsettling enough to provoke thought and discussion. --Rob Lightner

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