Heroes

Starting in 2018, Chicago will be home to the world's largest dinosaur.

Hopefully the new guy will have his own Twitter account too.

Starting in 2018, Chicago will be home to the world's largest dinosaur.

For more than 17 years, Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex has reigned supreme at Chicago's Field Museum.

In the past few years she's even built up an online reputation as being one of the best accounts to follow on Twitter, provided you love memes and puns (and who doesn't?).

In 2018, however, Sue is getting some competition. Massive competition.

In 2014, the world got a look at a behemoth dinosaur known as the "titanosaur" when it was discovered in Argentina. Now, it's making its way to Sue's home in the Windy City.


At 122 feet long and an estimated weight of about 70 tons, the titanosaur is the largest dinosaur ever discovered. For comparison, that's more than three times as long as Sue.

While the titanosaur model that will be on display at the Field Museum will be a cast of the original with plenty of missing pieces filled in, it's pretty cool that a whole new audience will have the chance to marvel at the dinosaur's sheer size.

Fans of Sue shouldn't worry, however. The world's largest, most complete, and most retweetable tyrannosaurus is simply being moved out of the museum's main hall into a separate, private exhibit.

On Twitter, Sue praised the museum's decision with her signature sense of humor.

She is thrilled to be getting her own space, has changed her Twitter name to "Private Suite Haver," and even offered a quick statement in the museum's latest press release.

"For years now, I've been pitching [this move] to the Museum," Sue said. "A room with a better defensible position against velociraptor attacks and reduced exposure to possible meteorite collisions. Finally, the mammals in charge have come to their senses."

In addition to the new location, Sue is getting a couple of upgrades to put her more in line with our current understanding of paleontology.

That's part of what's so cool about science: our understanding of the world around us is constantly changing as we make new discoveries. In Sue's case, the museum is making adjustments to the dino's posture and hip placement, and also reuniting her with a set of bones called the gastralia.

When Sue first made her museum debut, it wasn't quite clear where those bones were supposed to go or what their function was. Over the past several years, researchers have come to learn that the gastralia is actually positioned as a sort of second set of ribs across the T. rex's belly.

In addition to helping us better understand the planet, announcing these discoveries and sharing them with the public helps get young kids into science.

The love of science is a lifelong pursuit, and dinosaurs are a great way to spark interest in even the youngest future STEM scholars. For years, scientists have praised dinosaurs as somewhat of a gateway to our scientific future for their ability to connect with children and adults alike.

It's a safe bet that Sue has inspired a few future explorers in her day, and it's just as safe to think that the new titanosaurus will as well.

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Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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