This summer, budding paleontologists will be able to pick a bone with a ferocious flesh-eating dinosaur at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.
“It’s going to be a terrific show,” said the museum’s Luke Swetland of A T. rex named Sue, the fully articulated 67-million-year-old fossil exhibit that opens this Saturday, May 28. “Not only is this the most famous T. rex in the world; there’s also an entire exhibition that really helps you understand these amazing creatures.”
The 42,000-pound exhibit, which is owned by the Field Museum in Chicago, arrived on Monday after traveling more than 3,700 miles from Nova Scotia. The delivery required three trucks and took eight days, all handled by the Canadian branch of the German logistics company DB Schenker.
“It’s kind of like Christmas in May,” said Frank Hein, the museum’s director of exhibits, as the first box came out of the truck in Santa Barbara. “You get to open the packages, see what’s inside, figure out how to set it up, and make it awesome!”
Since Santa Barbara was under water during the entire age of the dinosaurs, the closest it has ever come to having them is modern-day birds. “We do so much about birds,” said Swetland. “Now we get to bring the lost half of the family back to the museum for the summer.”
The original Tyrannosaurus rex was uncovered in South Dakota in 1990 by paleontologist Sue Hendrickson and later purchased at auction for $8.4 million. Since 2000, the replicated skeleton of “Sue” has traveled to 70 different locations around the world.
“Dinosaurs are one of those gateways to natural history,” said Swetland, whose team is transforming Fleishman Auditorium into the educational T. rex center. “They are endlessly fascinating to both kids and big kids like you and me.”
A T. Rex named Sue will be on display at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History from May 28-September 11. See sbnature.org.