When Peter Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute discovered the world's largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton beneath a South Dakota butte in 1990, they had no idea that it would be the find of a lifetime. Sue, as the skeleton came to be known, would ultimately not only lead them to international recognition, but also pull them into a world of FBI investigations, Native American land claims, competitive paleontologists, and avaricious museum curators. This gripping story chronicles the adventures of Larson and his group, explaining the art, technology, and politics behind one of the most successful group of T-rex hunters.
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Peter Larson is the founder of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research. His discoveries can be viewed at virtually every major natural history museum in the world. Kristin Donnan is a journalist and former editor at McCall's. They are the coauthors of Bones Rock! Everything You Need to Know to Be a Paleontologist. They both live in Hill Top, South Dakota.
The largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil was discovered in 1990 by Sue Hendrickson, but it was the Black Hills Institute team, headed by Larson, that did the backbreaking, labor-intensive work of carefully excavating its bones from beneath a butte in South Dakota. So how did the fossil named Sue end up in Chicago's Field Museum? Despite a verbal contract, in which Larson paid Maurice Williams $5000 to excavate and remove the fossil from his land, federal agents seized Sue and brought charges against Larson and the Black Hills Institute. The ensuing trial centered around ownership of the land where Sue was discovered and whether or not Larson and the Black Hills Institute were involved in illegally hunting and selling fossils. Larson's unfortunate experience underscores the lack of appropriate regulation for fossil collecting as well as the valuable service qualified independent collectors provide to professional paleontologists. Larson and Donnan, an NBC reporter who covered the case and later married Larson, also present the latest information regarding Tyrannosaurus rex anatomy, gender determination, and similarity to birds. While Steven Fiffer's account of events in Tyrannosaurus Sue is more objective and comprehensive, Larson and Donnan's book provides the personal, behind-the-scenes drama that only someone who lived it could provide. Highly recommended for most libraries. Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll. Lib., Kansas City, MO
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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