WBEZ | Tyrannosaurus Rex http://www.wbez.org/tags/tyrannosaurus-rex Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Yes, you can put a price on a T. rex http://www.wbez.org/news/yes-you-can-put-price-t-rex-113557 <p><div id="storytext"><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_100512047208.jpg" style="height: 362px; width: 620px;" title="School children get a close-up look at the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as &quot;Sue&quot; on display at Chicago's Field Museum Wednesday, May 12, 2010 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)" /></div><p><strong>TRANSCRIPT</strong></p></div><div><p><strong>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:</strong></p><p>In this next story, we make a market for dinosaurs. There was no money when Tyrannosaurus rex walked the earth - you know, the whole 40-foot tall thing with the giant tail and the tiny arms and the huge teeth. But today, you can put a price on a T. rex thanks to a particular dinosaur known as Sue. Stacey Vanek Smith with our Planet Money podcast has more.</p><p><strong>STACEY VANEK SMITH, BYLINE:</strong> Sue was found in the Badlands of South Dakota. It was 1990. Pete Larson was a fossil hunter, and he was out looking for bones. One of the members of his team went to take her dog for a walk. She came running back.</p><p><strong>PETE LARSON:</strong> She holds out her hand with these two pieces of bone with this honeycomb pattern. And I asked her if there was more there, and she said there&#39;s a lot more there. And so we ran - literally ran - to the site about two miles away. And here were these basically pieces of bones just dripping out of the side of this cliff.</p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" in="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_97100302524.jpg" style="height: 184px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Marine archaeologist and paleontologist Susan Hendrickson poses with her discovery of the largest Tyrannosaurus rex fossil before it sold at Sotheby's in New York, Saturday Oct. 3, 1997. Hendrickson made found &quot;Sue&quot; while a summer intern with the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in South Dakota in 1990. &quot;Sue&quot; was sold to the Field Museum in Chicago. (AP Photo/Emile Wamsteker)" /><p><strong>SMITH:</strong> It was a Tyrannosaurus rex, the biggest, most complete T. rex skeleton ever found. Larson named it Sue in honor of Sue Hendrickson, the woman who discovered it. Larson&#39;s team carefully excavated the bones and brought them back to his shop in Hill City, S.D. He wanted to use Sue to start a museum. News of Sue spread fast. Scientists came to study her. Reporters flew in.</p><p><strong>LARSON:</strong> And then one day, there was a knock on my door. I was showering at 7:30 in the morning and getting ready to come to work. And I walked out, and there&#39;s 35 FBI agents and National Guard and all kinds of people here.</p><p><strong>SMITH:</strong> Sue had landed in the middle of an epic legal battle. The rancher who&#39;d owned the land Sue was found on said Sue belonged to him. Pete Larson said he&#39;d paid for Sue, but there was no written contract. Sue&#39;s bones were held as evidence in a sea freight container in the boiler room at the South Dakota School of Mines. Pete would go at night and talk to her.</p><p><strong>LARSON: </strong>Looking in the window at the container, it was sad. I mean, to lock up this wonderful animal just - it was just wrong.</p><p><strong>SMITH</strong>: The court decided in favor of the rancher. Pete was crushed. So was everyone in his little town who thought a museum with Sue in it would put Hill City on the map. Sue belonged to the rancher, and the rancher decided to sell her to the highest bidder. It was a sale like nobody had ever seen. Sotheby&#39;s took it on.</p><p><strong>(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)</strong></p><p><strong>UNIDENTIFIED MAN:</strong> We have for auction today the fossil of a Tyrannosaurus rex known as Sue.</p><p><strong>SMITH</strong>: To some people, this was a crazy moment. You didn&#39;t auction off a dinosaur. It was a scientific find, one of a kind. Lance Grande is a paleontologist with the Field Museum in Chicago. It was one of the bidders. He says there were lots of others.</p><p><strong>LANCE GRANDE:</strong> We bid against other museums, gambling casinos, real estate companies and even one private individual who wanted it for an ornament in his living room.</p><p><strong>(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING</strong>)</p><p><strong>UNIDENTIFIED MAN</strong>: And I begin with a bid of $500,000. Start bidding at $500,000. Start bidding at $500 - $600,000 - $700,000...</p><p><strong>GRANDE:</strong> After 2.5 million, the Smithsonian dropped out. And after 7.2 million, the North Carolina Museum of Natural History dropped out.</p><p><strong>SMITH: </strong>There were just two bidders left, the Chicago Field Museum and a real estate baron from Florida. He bid 7.5 million. That was the Field Museum&#39;s preset limit, but the museum really wanted Sue. They decided to bid one more time.</p><p><strong>(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)</strong></p><p><strong>UNIDENTIFIED MAN:</strong> At 7,600,000 - 7,600,000.</p><p><strong>(APPLAUSE)</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" for="" on="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_9711060765.jpg" style="height: 488px; width: 620px;" title="In this photo, Chicago's Field Museum collections manager Bill Simpson, left, Dr. John Flynn, then chairman of the Department of Geology, center, and Paul Brinkman, then assistant collections manager, sort through the unassembled left hip bone from &quot;Sue,&quot; Oct. 20, 1997, shortly after it was delivered to the museum. Sue, the largest and most complete T-rex ever discovered was reported purchased for $8.4 million from Sotheby's auction house on Oct. 4 that year. (AP File Photo/Allied Van Lines, John Zich)" /></p><p><strong>SMITH: </strong>Sue went to the Field Museum. She&#39;s still there today. But that moment when the gavel fell, that moment changed paleontology forever. Now people knew dinosaurs had a price tag and a pretty big one. Lots of non-scientists started combing the hills of South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming hoping to strike it rich. Stacey Vanek Smith, NPR News.</p></div><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/29/452763153/yes-you-can-put-a-price-on-a-t-rex"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 13:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/yes-you-can-put-price-t-rex-113557 Clever Apes #27: Breaking the fossil record http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2012-03-08/clever-apes-27-breaking-fossil-record-96971 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-07/Orgel2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Joseph Orgel holds his sample of T. rex tissue. (WBEZ/Michael De Bonis)" class="caption" height="450" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-07/Orgel2.JPG" title="Joseph Orgel holds his sample of T. rex tissue. (WBEZ/Michael De Bonis)" width="600"></p><p>Dinosaurs loom large in our imaginations not just because they were in fact enormous, but also they are so ridiculously old. There has always been a big, impenetrable curtain separating us from prehistoric life. Sure, we have some ancient bones, but those had long since turned to stone. Any actual tissue, the stuff of flesh-and-blood creatures, is irrevocably lost, lasting only a few tens of thousands of years in most cases. Maybe a few stray organic molecules could persist for a few million if, say, they were frozen deep within primeval ice.</p><p>So, needless to say, it came as something of a shock when Mary Schweitzer <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/307/5717/1952.abstract">discovered that she had some 68-million-year-old dinosaur tissue </a>on her hands.</p><p><img alt="Researchers at Argonne lab use tricycles to get around the Advanced Photon Sourc" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-05/Orgel trike.jpg" style="margin: 10px; width: 350px; float: right; height: 267px;" title="Researchers at Argonne lab use tricycles to get around the Advanced Photon Source. (WBEZ/Michael De Bonis)">The find was and is controversial. <a href="http://genome.fieldofscience.com/2009/06/dinosaur-proteins-from-t-rex-and.html">Many scientists are skeptical or outright dismissive </a>of the idea that tissue could have persisted inside the partially fossilized thigh bone of a T. rex. But since then Schweitzer and her collaborators have gradually built up evidence that the find is real. And most recently, <a href="http://www.iit.edu/csl/bio/faculty/orgel_joseph.shtml">Joseph Orgel of the Illinois Institute of Technology </a>has begun to understand how mummified dino-flesh could possibly have survived a thousand times longer than was thought possible.</p><p>Orgel used <a href="http://aps.anl.gov/">x-ray diffraction</a>, a kind of molecular imaging technique, to understand how the dinosaur tissue is structured in detail. The particular stuff they have in hand is collagen, a material found in our bones, tendons, blood vessels and skin. It is itself a hardy molecule, and Orgel found that the protein sequences preserved in their fossils came from the innermost, protected part of the collagen fiber. So it’s possible that <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0020381">collagen’s tough, ropelike structure preserved a tender bit of dinosaur jerky inside.</a></p><p>Keep in mind, this is not DNA. We will not be cloning Barney from this stuff. But understanding how these proteins can be shielded from decay for so long could hold practical lessons for modern medicine. If you’re repairing, say, a bone or cartilage, you might be able to leverage or mimic nature’s ability to make durable organic materials that don’t degrade, in effect, forever.<img alt="Phillip Messersmith designed a medical glue based on the blue mussel's natural a" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-05/Messersmith.jpg" style="margin: 10px; width: 250px; float: left; height: 333px;" title="Phillip Messersmith designed a medical glue based on the blue mussel's natural adhesive. (WBEZ/Michael De Bonis)"></p><p>Also in today’s episode, we consider another example of design inspired by biology. <a href="http://biomaterials.bme.northwestern.edu/mussel.asp">Dr. Phillip Messersmith’s muse is the blue mussel </a>– a bivalve that secretes a unique adhesive to stick itself to rocks or boat hulls or wherever it feels like sticking. (They form their connective threads and tacky pads through a kind of shellfish injection-molding process. The video below, provided by the Messersmith lab, captures an amazing example.) This stuff turns out to have some key qualities that a surgeon would envy. It starts as a liquid and solidifies quickly, it functions well under water and it’s sticky as hell.</p><p>That’s a big advantage over the medical glues out there that doctors use to attach or repair tissues. The safest ones are too weak. The strongest ones (basically, super glue) are toxic. <a href="http://biomaterials.bme.northwestern.edu/">Messersmith and his lab-mates at Northwestern University </a>are using the fundamentals of the mussel glue to design their own version, which they demonstrated for us on some sausage casing.</p><p>So someday, maybe they’ll be able to install a dino-inspired bone patch in your body, and lock it down with some mussel glue. Until then, don’t forget to subscribe to our <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-clever-apes/id379051174" target="_blank" title="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast">podcast</a>, follow us on&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/cleverapes" target="_blank" title="http://twitter.com/#!/cleverapes">Twitter</a>, and find us on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412" target="_blank" title="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="451" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/38034455?color=ff0179" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="601"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 07 Mar 2012 16:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2012-03-08/clever-apes-27-breaking-fossil-record-96971 Clever Apes: Top 5 dinosaur myths http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-03-31/clever-apes-top-5-dinosaur-myths-84500 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-March/2011-03-30/Sinclair dino world.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The latest Clever Apes is all about demystifying dinosaurs, and why it seems to be taking popular culture so long to catch up with the science. So, with apologies for spoiling your childhood idylls, here are Clever Apes’ Top 5 Dinosaur Myths:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" height="322" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-30/Sinclair dino world.jpg" title="" width="500"></p><p><strong>1) Brontosaurus</strong></p><p>We hope you know about this one by now, but <a href="http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/herbivorousdinosaurs/p/apatosaurus.htm">brontosaurus is no longer with us</a>. I don’t mean as in extinct – I mean as in never around to begin with. Brontosaurus was kind of a Frankenstein, born of the vagaries of field work. Back in the late 19th Century, Othinel Charles Marsh was in an all-out war with other fossil hunters over who could find the most new dinosaurs. In his haste he “discovered” and named two dinosaurs: first apatosaurus, then brontosaurus. Turns out they were the same dinosaur, just different ages. Furthermore, brontosaurus was missing a head (as long-dead dinosaurs often are), so Marsh kindly gave him one. Only problem was it was the head of a totally different dinosaur, camarasaurus.</p><p>Anyway, the myth is widespread enough that the U. S. Postal Service still put brontosaurus in <a href="http://www.search4dinosaurs.com/postage_stamps/UnitedStates_Dinosaurs_Prehistoric_Animals_Postage_Stamps.html">a set of “dinosaur” stamps</a> in 1989. They also added the pterodon, which, of course, is no dinosaur at all.</p><p><strong>2) Triceratops (sort of)</strong></p><p>Another field mix-up – at least, maybe. Last year paleo-celebrity <a href="http://www.museumoftherockies.org/Home/EXPLORE/Dinosaurs/PeopleinPaleo/JackHorner/tabid/389/Default.aspx">Jack Horner</a> of the Museum of the Rockies co-wrote a paper suggesting that <a href="http://ayl.lv/Z4g">triceratops was likely actually a younger version of another dinosaur, the torosaurus</a>. Many dinosaurs, it turns out, went through <a href="http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/dinosaur/2010/07/new-study-says-torosaurustriceratops/">major skeletal changes over the course of their lives</a>, confusing paleontologists and toddlers the world over. I suppose next they’ll be telling us that piatnitzkysaurus was just a juvenile gorgonops, right? Am I right? OK, just went overboard off the dork boat. Pull it together, Spitzer.</p><p>Anyway, when comic <a href="http://dantelfer.blogspot.com">Dan Telfer</a> made reference to the dubious triceratops on the<a href="http://www.wbez.org/dinos"> last Clever Apes</a>, we swiftly received anguished tweets from <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/etsysockmonkey">@etsysockmonkey</a>, declaring that we’d made her cry and ruined her life. Well, I hate to break it to you, but it turns out the sock monkey is just a juvenile version of the stuffed monchhichi.</p><p><a href="http://fieldmuseum.org/users/lindsay-zanno">Lindsay Zanno</a> of the Field Museum adds another note of comfort: Even though Horner suggests triceratoips and torosaurus are the same species, triceratops was named first, so it wins. Also, she says, it may all turn out to be hooey.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>3) T. Rex stood tall</strong></p><p>The <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/321326827/">iconic image</a> of the T. Rex is of the mighty predator looming large, back upright, puny arm-twigs raised in menacing fashion. I suppose that seemed more imposing than the hunched-over thing we now know it to be. As paleontologist Paul Sereno explains, the T. Rex was much more bird than kangaroo (or dragon, for that matter). Most serious museums get this right now, but I can tell you from personal experience: the chintzy plastic-toy manufacturers have yet to catch up.</p><p><strong>4) Stegosaurus had two brains</strong></p><p>The idea that dinosaurs had brains the size of a walnut is itself something of a myth, but it appears to be true in the case of the stegosaurus. To compensate, scientists used to suggest the steg had a second brain near its tail – an “ass-brain,” as Dan Telfer put it. The notion came from a suspicious cavity in its spinal column, and the fact that paleontologists couldn’t imagine how the 30-foot long beast could function with a strawberry in its noggin.</p><p>But in the last few decades, the <a href="http://www.jstor.org/pss/2400969">second-brain theory has fallen out of favor</a>. Instead, that cavity may have housed a little starch factory, similar to what modern-day birds have.</p><p><strong>5) T-Rex and Stegosaurus tussled with each other</strong></p><p>Hate to say it, but these two did not cross paths. All the cartoons and coloring books seem to want to throw all the dinosaurs together at the same time. But the <a href="http://lastdaysoftheincas.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/dinosaur-timeline.jpg">Mesozoic&nbsp;dinosaur era lasted about 165 million years</a>, and during that time lots of dinosaurs came and went. The tyrannosaurus and the stegosaurus missed each other by about 80 million years.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>6) (Special BONUS myth) Dinosaurs are extinct&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Wrong! Sucker! The Field Museum's Zanno says, technically, <a href="http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/avians.html">birds are living dinosaurs</a>. So we are still in the dinosaur era. Dinophiles, rejoice!</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 31 Mar 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-03-31/clever-apes-top-5-dinosaur-myths-84500 Clever Apes #9: Demystifying dinosaurs http://www.wbez.org/dinos <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-March/2011-03-29/P1000075.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Paleontologist Paul Sereno in his fossil lab at the University of Chicago. " class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-29/Sereno.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 300px; " title="Paleontologist Paul Sereno in his fossil lab at the University of Chicago. "></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Brontosaurus? A sham. Triceratops? Awkward adolescent. Tyrannosaurus Rex? A total wuss. OK, maybe T-Rex was no wuss, but it definitely lacked dignity. It walked all bent over, may have been an<a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3112527.stm"> opportunistic scavenger</a> and possibly even <a href="http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/dinosaurs/diorama/tyrant.php">had feathers</a>. Feathers.</p><p>There’s no question: The dinosaurs of our youth have been irrevocably humbled. And yet movies, kids’ books and advertisements still perpetuate all kinds of misconceptions about dinosaurs that scientists long ago left behind. So why is it that dinosaur myths die so hard?</p><p>We consider that question in the latest installment of Clever Apes. Eminent Paleontologist <a href="http://www.paulsereno.org/paulsereno/">Paul Sereno</a> joins us talk about which dinosaur myths bug him, and why they might not all be bad. We’ll also sort out, thanks to Chicago comic Dan Telfer, which is the best dinosaur. Oh yes, there’s an answer.</p><p><strong><sub>Listen to the latest installment:</sub></strong><br> <audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483426-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Clever_Apes_Demystifying_Dinosaurs.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>Dan, as you’ll discover, is a dinosaur maven. Check out <a href="http://dantelfer.blogspot.com/">his web site</a> and his CD, <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/fossil-record/id374980119">Fossil Record</a>. Also, watch this space later this week for the special extended-cut, rated-PG-13 video of Dan’s performance, and a behind-the-scenes interview.</p><p>As always, subscribe to the Clever Apes&nbsp;<a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast" style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150);" target="_blank" title="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast">podcast</a>, follow us on&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/cleverapes" style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150);" target="_blank" title="http://twitter.com/#!/cleverapes">Twitter</a>, or find us on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412" style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150);" target="_blank" title="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 29 Mar 2011 21:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/dinos