I reckon there ain't nothin' more American than McDonald's and Disney tagteaming to buy a big-ass Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton for the Field Museum of Natural History. To make the story even more American, this occurred after the fossils' initial discovery on a ranch on an indian reservation by a private corporation and, once the landowner and the Sioux tribe each claimed ownership, subsequent seizure by the FBI. After a court battle, they were returned to the landowner, who auctioned them off.
Luckily, Sue ended up in the hands of the Field rather than a private collector with a nagging void in his foyer. Sue replaced the Albertasaurus mount in the Field's main hall. I was going to school in Chicago at the time and had a membership to the museum, which was within walking distance of my campus. I'd stop in once or twice a week, spending much of that time in Sue's shadow. I really miss having an easily accessible natural history museum in my life.
I'll need to make my way back up to Chicago soon to check out the spiffy, expensive new Sue exhibits, which you can preview at the Field's fancy-pants new site. Clicking on the "Celebrate Sue" link at the top of the page allows you to send Sue a birthday present. I sent a unicorn coloring book, which the site told me "was one of Sue's favorites." Honestly, I bet she would have preferred a goat tethered to a stake. In gratitude for your email address, you get access to four wallpapers and three "T. rex roar" ringtones.
The Chicago Tribune has written an article looking back on Sue's first ten years as a Chicago icon, as well as providing this video dating back to Sue's debut in 2000.
The beginning of this post is a remixed version of a Dino Friday post from Gentleman's Choice.