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How much is that T. Rex in the window? Journalist Steve Fiffer looks at the most contentious paleontological find ever in Tyrannosaurus Sue. This scientific, sociological, and legal study is entertaining and insightful, highlighting the personalities of the researchers, attorneys, and tribal and federal authorities who struggled for years over the ownership rights to the best-preserved Rex specimen yet found. From its discovery in South Dakota in 1990 by Susan Hendrickson and Peter Larson through the tortuous court cases to decide its fate to the final auction at Sotheby's, Fiffer finds just the right words to describe the action, a difficult task given the conflicting reports of contesting witnesses. Professional jealousy and academic elitism (or concern for valuable scientific material and Indian property rights) led to accusations of illegal collecting and the seizure of the skeleton by federal agents shortly after its move to Larson's Black Hills Institute. Suits, countersuits, and indictments escalated the struggle into an all-out war with vast sums of money and professional reputations at stake. In the end, Larson was imprisoned as an example to illegal collectors despite his sincere belief that he had worked within the law, and Sue was awarded to property owner Maurice Williams and purchased for $8 million by Chicago's Field Museum with the assistance of the McDonald's and Disney corporations. Tyrannosaurus Sue is a riveting tale, well-written and just unsettling enough to provoke thought and discussion. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book is fascinating and heartbreaking. Anyone with interest in Paleontology or Law or Politics or simply looking for a good read should give this book a try.Published 20 months ago by Elle Jay Hatch
When I purchased this book, it was listed as used in "good condition." I would hate to see what they think is fair or poor condition. The book's cover was held together by tape! Read morePublished on January 13, 2012 by HP Doyle
Discovered by Sue Hendrickson and Peter Larson (president of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research) in the wastelands of South Dakota, the largest T-Rex had survived... Read morePublished on May 19, 2011 by Eric C. Welch
This true story plays out as if John Grisham wrote a documentary. It has all of the elements of a good legal drama: The big bad antagonist, the picked on little guys trying to... Read morePublished on December 20, 2010 by Mark Rice
This book is another example of why I prefer non-fiction over fictional books. Would you believe a fictional story of a paleontologist fighting over a dinosaur skeleton with a... Read morePublished on November 21, 2010 by Rick Amazon
I love fossils, and this book (which I listened to on tape) has a lot of good information about them, especially the history of fossil collection. Read morePublished on August 11, 2009 by Jackie
Tyrannosaurus Sue is a great book about the discovery of the largest T-rex fossil ever excavated. Sue Hendrickson and Peter Larson, commercial fossil hunters, found the giant in... Read morePublished on November 5, 2007 by Jarrod D. Knudson
Although "Tyrannosaurus Sue" takes a while to get rolling, eventually author Steve Fiffer does get into the trial over the bones, and, as a lawyer, he does an excellent job of... Read morePublished on May 6, 2007 by Harry Eagar