Who is SUE? South Dakota's Biggest Dino Infographic

Nov 22, 2022

About SUE

SUE, also known as BHI 3033, is a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil that was discovered in South Dakota in 1990. It is one of the most complete and well-preserved T-rex skeletons ever found. SUE is named after Sue Hendrickson, the paleontologist who stumbled upon the fossil while working for the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research.

Discovery and Excavation

The discovery of SUE took place in the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, located in western South Dakota. It was found by Sue Hendrickson during an excavation led by the Black Hills Institute. The fossils were embedded in hard sandstone, making the excavation process quite challenging.

Once the fossil was unearthed, it took years of meticulous work to carefully remove the surrounding rock and extract the bones. SUE's skeleton was found to be approximately 90% complete, making it an incredibly valuable and scientifically significant find.

SUE's Size and Characteristics

SUE's skeleton measures about 40 feet long from nose to tail and stands around 13 feet tall at the hip. Its estimated weight is around 12,000 to 15,000 pounds. SUE is known for its massive jaw and sharp teeth, which were used to rip apart its prey. The T-rex had short arms but long, powerful hind limbs, allowing it to chase down and overpower its victims.

Ancient History

SUE lived during the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 67 to 65.5 million years ago. It roamed the land that is now western North America, which was dominated by forests and rivers. SUE belonged to a group of theropod dinosaurs, which were known for their bipedal stance and carnivorous diet.

The Late Cretaceous period was marked by the extinction of dinosaurs, including SUE, which is believed to have perished in a catastrophic event, possibly an asteroid impact, resulting in the mass extinction event that wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs.

SUE's Exhibitions and Importance

SUE's discovery has contributed immensely to our understanding of Tyrannosaurus rex and the ecosystem it once inhabited. The skeleton has been extensively studied and examined by scientists around the world.

Currently, you can see a replica of SUE on display at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. The original skeleton is kept safely in the museum's collections. SUE's exhibitions provide visitors with a unique opportunity to learn about the magnificent creature that once ruled the ancient landscapes.


In conclusion, SUE is a remarkable Tyrannosaurus rex fossil discovered in South Dakota. Its well-preserved skeleton and extensive study have contributed significantly to our knowledge of these ancient creatures. The discovery of SUE continues to inspire paleontologists and captivate the imagination of people of all ages, shedding light on the magnificent world that existed millions of years ago.

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Anne Milem
SUE: the iconic T-rex fossil discovered in South Dakota, truly a remarkable find!
Oct 13, 2023