Friday, March 30, 2012

Ode to Sue, the Tyrannosaurus Rex

A story:

Whilst living in Ohio, I used to visit Chicago, either for business or for short vacations. On my first trip, I was scheduled to be in Chicago for three days, and I knew that I would spend two of them at the Field Museum. Now, the large foyer of the Field Museum has the skeleton of Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex prominently on display, dramatically greeting visitors as only an apex predator can.

It was love at first sight.

I literally spent five hours looking at Sue from all different angles; photographing her; sketching her; dissecting her with my eyes.

The mechanics of the pelvis and hip joints are extremely interesting, but the mechanics of the jaw is something that mathematicians would call "non-trivial". After numerous diagrams, the pattern by which the muscles attached and crossed each other began to dawn on me.

"Yes! Yes!!"

Had there been anyone else around, I would have high-fived them.

No, I did not smoke a cigarette.

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