Sue is the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton currently known. The 14+ meter biped dominates Stanley Field Hall at the Field Museum. A sea of people moved in on the day it was unveiled to the public in 2000, almost like a mob rushing the gates of a castle, the moment the museum doors opened. The crowds have diminished, but they remain crowds nonetheless.

That Sue drew public interest is self-evident, but it also caught the gaze of professional paleontologists. Sue was an immediate, if inanimate, celebrity; and large sums of money were involved in its acquisition. The...

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