Maximo has garnered considerable press, grabbing the spotlight once firmly trained on the Field’s unique Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton named Sue (after Susan Hendrickson, the discoverer). Since Max’s arrival, Sue has been rudely exiled from the Great Hall and banished to upstairs.
Sue is unique, but Max is larger. Measuring about 122 feet long and 28 feet high, Maximo represents the largest fossilized creature ever found. His kind, the titanosaur (Patagotitan mayorum), was unknown to science until an Argentinian farmer stumbled across a gigantic bone poking out of the arid earth on his property. Fossilized bones from at least six individual titanosaurs were eventually excavated from where they had lain undisturbed for a hundred million years.
The skeletons, however, were not complete. From what I have read, 130 bones in all were found; from these paleontologists interpolated a composite model of the animal, casts of which have been sold to several museums.
After the fake bones arrived at the Field, some assembly was required. Although I don’t approve of Sue being banished, I was lucky to see Max being assembled.
It was awe-inspiring to see such enormous bones laid out on the floor right at my feet. Their color, though, like that of a new carcass that has just been picked clean, caused a furor at the museum. Declared too pink, the bones were quickly whitewashed to produce a more unobjectionable color.
Already I am bored with Maximo, the large but somewhat ersatz wannabe. I am wistful for Sue, who will be off view until 2019. The most complete dinosaur skeleton ever found, she is the real thing.