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SUE set to show what she’s made of

Royal BC Museum hosts the best T-Rex ever found
A bone in the office of Dr. Victoria Arbour at the Royal BC Museum. (Ella Matte, Black Press Media)

By Tim Collins

SUE is coming to Victoria’s Royal BC Museum, and her appearance will undoubtably evoke cries of amazement as folks take in the remains of the most complete and well-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex ever found.

Visitors will walk alongside a larger-than-life mural showing the lands that SUE once called home. They’ll have a chance to feel her skin, smell her breath, and see SUE face off against the formidable herbivore, Triceratops.

Visitors will also have a chance to learn a few things about how SUE survived a dangerous and challenging world.

But perhaps it’s best that SUE isn’t around to experience some of the less than generous reactions to her appearance.

Oh sure, there will be gasps of amazement at her sheer size and the 50 or so banana sized, razor sharp teeth. After all, it’s sort of tough to ignore something that could finish you off with a single enthusiastic nibble.

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And for those who like to put things into modern day perspective, learning that SUE could run at 20 kph over a sustained distance might make folks speculate about whether she could have caught up to Usain Bolt. Sure, his average 37.5 kph is faster but, let’s face it, he’s really only good for a hundred yards or so. (Although we suppose he might be inspired to go further if SUE were on his tail.)

But will visitors give SUE much credit to the fact that her brain was twice the size of the average human? Probably not.

Just think what she could have accomplished with an advanced higher education. (Of course, her professors might have been a wee bit nervous if she’d skipped breakfast before class.)

Nor will most visitors give much thought to the shamelessly disparaging remarks about T-Rex morphology that have dominated cartoon depictions of her species ever since that scene in Meet the Robinsons, when one of her kind couldn’t get the little hero, Lewis, out of the corner of a vacant lot. (Google it. Funny, but not for T-Rex’s.)

In the end, of course, we’re still learning about the Cretaceous Period.

Is it possible that instead of fighting with Triceratops, SUE had fallen for the big fern-eater with the goofy grin? Imagine the shock on her father’s toothy face when she brought Tony the triceratops home for dinner to meet her parents.

On second thought, that might have ended badly, so best not to think about it too much.

But still, allow that we’ve still got a lot of unanswered questions.

To get some of those answers and see SUE in person, folks can make their way to the Royal BC Museum from June 16, right up to the new year.

And, as a courtesy, keep the short arm jokes to yourself.

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SUE T. Rex, 2018 at Field Museum. (Lucy Hewett)