Tyrannosaurus Sue: The Extraordinary Saga of the Largest, Most Fought Over T-Rex Ever Found

Steve Fiffer, Author, Robert T. Bakker, Foreword by W.H. Freeman & Company $24.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-7167-4017-9
Everyone seems to love dinosaurs, and almost everyone loves to watch big public fights, especially when they involve piles of money, the FBI and jail. Journalist Fiffer (Three Quarters, Two Dimes and a Nickel) has therefore found the ideal topic for a short, racy nonfiction narrative, one that combines the history of a science (dinosaur paleontology) with the dramatic twists of a legal thriller. In 1990, the diligent, scrappy South Dakota fossil-hunters Sue Hendrickson and Peter Larson dug up an exceptional T. rex--only the 12th tyrannosaur ever found, and the biggest and best-preserved to date. Larson paid rancher Maurice Williams (on whose land the beast was found) $5,000 for the fossil--nicknamed ""Sue""--and announced his plans to build a museum around it. Williams then said he still owned the find, while a nearby Sioux tribe claimed it did, since Sue had perhaps been unearthed from tribal land. Larson awoke to find federal agents carting away all his papers, along with his giant prize fossil--arguably jeopardizing a priceless discovery, and certainly angering nearby South Dakotans. The ensuing legal, political and scientific imbroglio set Native Americans against the federal government, the government against itself, the feds against established scientists and the world's great research universities against independent operators like Larson. Fiffer's thorough account should prove irresistible to readers with even a marginal interest in the legendary lizards--or in the less-sexy topics raised by this particular find, from Upper Midwest tribal disputes to pretrial publicity and the conduct of prosecutions. Agent, Gail Hochman. Author tour. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56740-499-9
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Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-7167-9462-2
Hardcover - 978-0-9650885-3-4
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