Meet Sue - The World's Most Expensive Dinosaur Skeleton
Sue was about 67 million year-old female Tyrannosaurus rex when Sotheby's sold it for $8,362,500 last October 4, 1997.
She now holds the world record as the best preserved, most elaborate, and indubitably, the most expensive dinosaur skeleton ever unearthed.
The winning bid came from the sum of solicited money from California State University system, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, McDonald's, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and individual donors whose common goal was to make Sue available for public viewing. Sue is now under special custody of The Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH), a home of many prized specimens, in Chicago, Illinois.
T-rex, a notorious carnivorous predator, can grow up to 46 feet long, 20 feet high at the hips and weigh 5 to 7 tons. Its head alone measures up to five feet long. Sue was the first complete t-rex dinosaur skeleton ever excavated.
After assembling all the bones found, the T-rex skeleton measured 40 feet (12 meters) long from nose to tail, and 12 feet (4 meters) tall at the hips. The original skull was too distorted to be attached on the T-rex skeleton so the museum made a cast of the real skull instead.
Sue got its name from Sue Hendrickson, a paleontologist working for Black Hills Institute who found these T-rex fossils at a private ranch owned by an ethnic (i.e. Sioux) group member, Maurice Williams in 1990. Disputes went on regarding the rightful ownership of Sue, yet after the US government granted Williams' request to sell Sue through an auction, it finally became a permanent tourist property and attraction at FMNH.
It goes without saying that this T-rex's bony beauty is a precious treasure to humanity. So don't be surprised to find science enthusiasts, commercial collectors and researchers locking horns at fossil auctions to bring home one of these prized pieces.
Thinking of digging fossils to earn big bucks? Keep in mind that the fossil's age, beauty, condition, and rarity dictate its price. Good luck.
Sources: Wikipedia | Paleodirect