SUE to be dethroned by ‘titan’ of evolution


Courtesy the Field Museum of Natural History

SUE, the largest T. rex fossil ever found, is overshadowed by the massive Titanosaur. SUE’s stomping grounds in Stanley Field Hall at the Field Museum of Natural History will be taken over by the Titanosaur starting spring 2018.

By Jonathon Sadowski

To some fans’ dismay and others’ excitement, the Field Museum of Natural History announced Aug. 30 that it will relocate iconic Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil SUE from Stanley Field Hall to her own 5,800-square-foot room in “The Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet” exhibit.

That will leave room for a fossil cast of Patagotitan mayorum, aka the Titanosaur, a hulking, 122-foot-long herbivore, to assume SUE’s throne at the museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive.

“Our decision to move SUE out of Stanley Field Hall isn’t one that we made lightly,” said Kate Golembiewski, public relations and science communications specialist at the Field Museum. “We gave it a lot of thought and did a lot of research into how that would affect our visitors’ experience.”

SUE has towered above visitors since coming to the hall in 2000. She is dwarfed by the Titanosaur—the largest dinosaur ever discovered. Visitors will be able to walk under and touch the cast.

The Titanosaur’s installation is nothing short of huge—literally and figuratively—said paleontologist Paul Sereno.

“Change can be invigorating,” Sereno said. “This should be a spot for new things to happen, not just the icons of the past.”

The Titanosaur’s placement was made possible by a donation from Illinois’ richest man, Kenneth Griffin, who previously made major donations to the museum, including to the popular “Evolving Planet” exhibit.

“Visiting the Field Museum has brought tremendous joy and wonder to my children and me over the years,” Griffin said in a Sept. 5 emailed statement. “I am proud to support [the museum].”

SUE will be removed in February 2018, and the Titanosaur will be unveiled later that spring. SUE’s reintroduction at her new home is slated for spring 2019.

SUE has her own Twitter account operated anonymously by Field Museum employees; it notes that SUE prefers they/them pronouns, but the museum still uses she/her. She has since amassed more than 30,000 followers.

SUE’s persona is sarcastic and excitable; she changed her account’s name to “Private Suite Haver” as she gushed over her new digs in between penning insulting tweets about Velociraptors.

In an Aug. 30 press release, SUE said she is excited for the move and should be able to better defend herself against Velociraptor attacks in the new room.

“[SUE] has always kind of had that personality,” Golembiewski said. “She’s funny. I like when she leads [Dungeons & Dragons] campaigns.”

Sarah Marren, Field Museum member and South Loop resident, said she is excited to see the Titanosaur up close with her 5-year-old son.

“[The Titanosaur] is so much bigger [than SUE],” Marren said. “Knowing that we’re going to be able to walk under it and touch it, my son is thrilled about that.”

However, Marren said she will miss SUE’s sharp smile greeting her in Stanley Field Hall. She made sure she told her son about the move in advance, so he will not be taken by surprise when there is a new dino in SUE’s place.

SUE could not be reached for comment as of press time. She is subject to a “strict no-interviews policy,” Golembiewski said in an Aug. 31 email.