Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Chicago, Saturday: T. Sue

28 January 2006

By the time I woke up, Strata had caught her flight back home.

I got up, ate a Luna bar, then headed to the Field Museum for two things: to see Sue and to see the Pompeii exhibit.

When I first walked in the building, I’d started to pass one of the dinosaurs before I looked up, realizing what an incredibly long neck it had. How long? I was unable to get the neck completely in my camera’s view (I didn’t think to try from the upper level, darn it).

Even though I’d arrived just in time for my Pompeii exhibit, I decided that Sue was a bigger priority. I went over to see her, stunned both by how large (and how small) she was. Her pelvis bone was much larger than I’d expected — it had also suffered some damage, including a missing tip. One of the museum staff was there answering questions about Sue, and generally joking.

“We’ve been going out for seven years,” he said. “I like older women.”

When I asked him about the pubic bone, he said that the leading theory about why the bone a) was so large and b) had suffered so much wear and tear was likely due to the fact that a T. Rex, like a chicken, slept in a squatting position, resting on the pubic bone.

The image that went through my head went something like: Chicken Run, only with T. Rexes. Hrm.

I was also surprised at how much characteristics one could see in the bone, including breaks and mends, as well as some of the attachment points. In all, Sue is an extremely well-preserved (and prepared) skeleton.

After visiting with Sue, I went to have my morning coffee and some soup, then headed over to the Pompeii exhibit, where I had to wait in line. Frankly, it was a much bigger exhibit than I was expecting. While there was the usual jewelry, and so on, I was quite stunned to see entire frescoed walls (three walls of one room, actually) and the variety of goods displayed.

I also felt quite humbled to see a statue believed to be from Julius Caesar’s father-in-law’s place in Herculaneum. Quite amazing.

There were precious few places to sit; the place was also quite packed. By the end, my feet were quite sore, but I managed. After that, I bought a t-shirt (for Rick) and an Octopus plate for myself.

I rested for a bit, then re-visited Sue again before going upstairs to see Sue’s real head (the real head is too heavy for the model of the body, thus it’s upstairs with a replica on Sue’s skeleton).

I wandered around through several other exhibits, including one about Tibet and another about the Southwest Pacific before heading back to my hotel.

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