I just watched a very interesting documentary on Netflix called Dinosaur 13. Now, basically, I’m a big overgrown kid who never outgrew that dreaded “Dinosaur Phase” that most little boys (and some girls) go through (although, for my own niece, it was, and still is, sharks). So I’ll pretty much watch anything about dinosaurs (and, yes, I own all of the Jurassic Park movies, even the embarrassingly forgettable Jurassic Park III).
The document is about the discovery of “Sue,” a large Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton, by Peter Larson and a team of well-organized fossil hunters in 1990. At the time of its discovery, it was the largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found. It was also only the 13th T-Rex skeleton ever found.
I certainly remember hearing about Sue in the news every once in a while during the 90’s. I knew that Sue was a superb T-Rex skeleton and that there was a fight over its ownership. But that’s about all I knew. I wasn’t conversant with any of the details.
Whoa. Let me tell you, the documentary covers all of that. It’s one of those tales that, if it weren’t true, it would be hard to believe it if you read about in a novel. It covers the way Sue was found, providing a fascinating view of the field of paleontology. It then segues into the realms go politics, the legal problems associated with fossil hunting and some truly crazy stuff.
It’s a riveting documentary, and highly worth watching. The producers also do their level best to show all sides fairly. Although, I still think by the end, if you’re like me, you’ll have definite opinions on who you think the bad guys are.
The documentary is based on the non-fiction book: Rex Appeal, by Peter Larson and Kristin Donnan, both of whom appear in the documentary. The subtitle is priceless, too: “The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur that Changed Science, the Law, and My Life.”
I ordered the book (from Amazon) immediately after I watched the documentary, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.