Blogs & Videos: Dinosaurs

Photo of dinosaur skeleton

How well do you know SUE?

The towering Tyrannosaurus rex that greets visitors at The Field Museum is hard to miss. But how well do you really know SUE? To celebrate SUE’s Unearth Day on August 12, the date she was discovered, we’re brushing up on some essential facts: Who is SUE? Even though we refer to SUE as a “she,” it is unknown whether this T. rex was female or male. We know that this carnivorous dinosaur lived about 67 million years ago and probably weighed nine tons during its life.

Newly-discovered dinosaur had “T. rex arms” that evolved independently

Scientists still aren’t sure why T. rex had those absurdly small forelimbs, but apparently the look was all the rage in the Late Cretaceous. A newly-discovered dinosaur from Patagonia has similar short, two-fingered claws, even though it’s not closely related to the tyrannosaurs.

Zoomed in photo of a fly-like insect trapped in orange amber

Revisiting “Jurassic Park”: Could dinosaurs really be cloned?

“Where do you get 100-million-year-old dinosaur blood?” asks Dr. Ellie Sattler, a character in the original “Jurassic Park” movie. In the film, dinosaurs are cloned from DNA preserved in amber. More specifically, from dinosaur blood inside mosquitoes that are trapped in the amber. Spoiler alert: things get a little out of hand as the cloned dinos wreak havoc on Isla Nublar.

The First Brachiosaurus

Joyce Havstad, PhD holds the title Philosopher-in-Residence at The Field Museum.* We had the joy of interviewing her about some of the fascinating concepts she researches and explores -- in this case, what is a holotype? And how can paleontologists determine new species of prehistoric life based off of incomplete fossil skeletons?

*It's probably the only job title that can compete with 'Chief Curiosity Correspondent', really. 

Sue's Microbes go to Space

The citizen science project, called Project MERCURRI, is designed to compare microbes from different environments on Earth both to each other and to those found on the International Space Station.  All together, 48 microbial species were selected to blast into orbit aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 shuttle to the International Space Station for research later this month.

Dino Discovery

Everyone knows that Tyrannosaurus rex was the biggest and baddest thing around during the age of the dinosaurs.  But what else was out there?  What was the biggest thing before the T. rex?   Scientists at The Field Museum and collaborators have uncovered the bones of another large predator in the Cedar Mountain Formation in Utah – one that would have filled the role as top predator of its time and kept T. rex’s ancestors in check! 

How to Recover from a Mass Extinction

A growing number of species in the modern world (nearly 200 in fact!) go extinct every day due to factors such as climate change and habitat destruction. During the earth's history, there also have been a number of 
mass extinctions, like the one that killed off the dinosaurs. Increasingly, scientists are turning to past mass extinctions to gain new insight into what is happening today.

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