Law in Popular Culture

Acclaimed film on 'Dinosaur 13' legal battle airs on CNN

  • Print.


The fossil of Tyrannosaurus rex Sue, at the Field Museum in Chicago. Image from Shutterstock.

An acclaimed documentary about a legal battle related to the ownership of a 67 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as Sue aired on CNN on Thursday.

Eventually purchased by the Field Museum, the famous set of fossilized T. rex bones was named in honor of Sue Hendrickson, a paleontologist who found the skeleton in South Dakota in 1990.

The Hendrickson team’s initial excitement over their stunning find was dimmed when the skeleton was confiscated by the feds in 1992 because it had allegedly been taken without permission from federal land. Hendrickson was given immunity, but paleontologist Peter Larson was prosecuted over a number of fossils found by investigators at the Black Hills Institute and served time, CNN reports. Both say they did nothing wrong.

“There were so many bones, so many animals, so many invertebrates that were taken off of public lands, taken internationally, sold internationally. … There was way more than we ever could have investigated,” Keith Nelson, an IRS investigator, told CNN.

Another CNN page provides links to clips from the video.

Hat tip: Chicago Tribune.

Related coverage: “Paleontologist, ‘a one-man black market in prehistoric fossils,’ gets time for $1M dinosaur sale”

Chicago Sun-Times: “New documentary tells the story of Sue the T.rex and the troubles that followed her discovery”

See also: “T. rex suit takes Texas lawyer to NYC and Mongolia” “US announces historic and prehistoric event: return of several dinosaur skeletons to Mongolia”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.