Photos: World’s Largest Dinosaur Coming to Field Museum

There’s a new dinosaur coming to town, and it’s a really big deal.

Chicago’s Field Museum will soon be home to a touchable cast of the largest dinosaur ever discovered: a giant, long-necked herbivore from Argentina that is part of a group of dinosaurs called titanosaurs. Cast from fossil bones of the species Patagotitan mayorum, the new dinosaur stretches 122 feet from snout to tail, longer than two accordion CTA buses end to end.

The titanosaur will debut in 2018 as the museum’s famous T. rex, Sue, gets a makeover and moves upstairs from its current spot in Stanley Field Hall. The new dinosaur will be the only Patagotitan in the world that visitors are able to touch and only the second to ever be on display.

“The Field Museum’s never-ending goal is to offer the best possible dinosaur experiences,” said Field Museum President Richard Lariviere in a press release announcing the new exhibit, funded by a $16.5 million gift from the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund. “With this extraordinary gift from Ken, we’ll be able to create a more scientifically accurate and engaging home for Sue the T. rex and welcome the world’s largest dinosaur to the Field.”

Below: photos and illustrations of the new titanosaur.

(Photo rendering courtesy The Field Museum)(Photo rendering courtesy The Field Museum)

(A. Otero / Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio)(A. Otero / Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio)

 Full cast of the titanosaur, stretching 122 feet long, in a hangar in Argentina.

(J. Farfaglia / Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio)(J. Farfaglia / Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio)

MEF paleontologist Pablo Puerta beside the 8-foot-long titanosaur femur.

(John Weinstein / The Field Museum)(John Weinstein / The Field Museum)

The Field Museum’s Head of Geological Collections, Bill Simpson, is shown here with the titanosaur humerus fossil.

(John Weinstein / The Field Museum)(John Weinstein / The Field Museum)

Used to model the full cast of the dinosaur, this fossilized titanosaur humerus is shown behind the scenes in The Field Museum’s collection. This is one of the real fossils which will be on display along with the cast.

(Illustration courtesy The Field Museum)(Illustration courtesy The Field Museum)

(Illustration courtesy The Field Museum)(Illustration courtesy The Field Museum)

(Courtesy The Field Museum)(Courtesy The Field Museum)

Sue the T. rex

The biggest change to Sue will be the addition of her gastralia, a set of bones that look like an additional set of ribs stretched across her belly.

Gastralia are rarely preserved in tyrannosaurs, and scientists weren't sure how to position them when Sue's skeleton was first mounted in 2000. But research in the years since has helped scientists learn more about their function and placement.

(Zachary James Johnston / The Field Museum)(Zachary James Johnston / The Field Museum)

Sue’s fossilized gastralia, on display in the museum's Evolving Planet exhibit. 

(Zachary James Johnston / The Field Museum)(Zachary James Johnston / The Field Museum)

Field Museum scientists Pete Makovicky, left, and Bill Simpson use a cast of one of Sue’s gastralia to show where they will be positioned on her skeleton.

Contact Alex Ruppenthal: @arupp | (773) 509-5623

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