New Dinosaur, Maximo, Moves Into Field Museum, Keeps SUE Awake With 'Crunching'

Mike Krauser
May 23, 2018 - 9:40 am

Rendering courtesy of The Field Museum

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Last year, The Field Museum announced, in celebration of its 125th anniversary, SUE the T-Rex was getting a make-over and a cast of the biggest dinosaur ever discovered would go in its place, thanks to a $16.5 million gift from the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund.

The titanosaur, 'Patagotitan mayorum', skeleton cast was named “Maximo,” Spanish for “maximum” or “most,” a nod to the Argentinian soil in which the original skeleton was unearthed, on May 11. The Field Museum said Maximo will debut June 1 in the Stanley Field Hall, but visitors could expect to see the installation in progress scheduled for May 23 to 25.

And right on schedule, the Field Museum started Thursday morning the three-day process of assembling its 122-foot-long Titanosaur, the largest dinosaur ever found.  

"We are bringing in part of our 7,000 pound titanosaur that will be on display in Stanley Field Hall come the beginning of June," said Hillary Hansen, Senior Project Manager at the museum as the cast of the bones were slowly lowered onto the front porch. 

A section of the titanosaur had to be brought in through the museum’s front doors with a crane.  

"It's maybe ten or twelve different vertebrae that are fused together. This is a replica of a titanosaur, it’s not the real fossil,” Hansen said. 

Hansen said the museum has a piece of the dinosaur that was so large and heavy, that it did not even fit into the freight elevator. 

WBBM Newsradio/Mike Krauser

“This titanosaur, the species name is Patagotitan mayorum. It was found in Patagonia. The museum there gets to keep the real specimen and we were able to purchase a cast of it to bring it to the Field Museum,”  Hansen said.

Patagotitan mayorum is the largest dinosaur yet found, a plant eater first uncovered in Argentina in 2014. 

The dinosaur is a cast made from the fossil bones of the Patagotitan mayorum. From snout to tail, it stretches 122 feet long, longer than two accordion CTA buses end-to-end. It’s so tall that visitors on the Museum’s second-floor balcony will be eye-to-eye with the creature, the Field Museum said. Visitors will be able to touch the titanosaur cast and walk underneath it. The Stanley Field Hall cast will be the only Patagotitan in the world that visitors are able to touch and only the second to ever be on display.

The 122-foot-long, two story tall dinosaur replaces SUE, the T-Rex, in the massive Stanley Field Hall, which Hansen said made Sue appear small.

"I think people are going to walk in and understand why we have a titanosaur in Stanley Field Hall. You know when visitors would walk in when SUE was on display, frequently people would comment about how Stanley Field Hall kind of engulfed the specimen and that SUE looked a little small," she said.

The museum will also have some real fossils of flying reptiles on loan from a museum in Argentina that will be part of the exhibit that’s expected to be completed by June 1.     

SUE is getting a new home at the museum after being on display in the hall for the past 20 years.  

“The Field Museum’s never-ending goal is to offer the best possible dinosaur experiences. Ken Griffin’s long-time support is a major step forward in achieving that goal,” says Field Museum President Richard Lariviere. “With this extraordinary gift from Ken, we’ll be able to create a more scientifically accurate and engaging home for SUE the T. rex and welcome the world’s largest dinosaur to the Field.”

And in true SUE fashion, the dinosaur tweeted about Maximo's arrival stating, "It’s currently 1:26 a.m. Màximo has arrived and isn’t even assembled yet. There is a deafening *CRUNCH* of salad emanating from Stanley Field Hall. Gonna invest in some earplugs tomorrow."

SUE must of had trouble sleeping in his/her new digs, with the sound of a large dinosaur crunching away upstairs.

But SUE is a good sport and told everyone that Maximo is a must-see!