EDITORIAL: Maximo, the titan among dinosaurs, grows on us
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Welcome to Chicago, Maximo. You’ll definitely be a crowd-pleaser.
Maximo is the latest addition to the Field Museum. He’s a 122-foot-long cast of a plant-eating titanosaur, with a new home in Stanley Field Hall. His thigh bone alone is about 8 feet long. All told, he was longer than a blue whale and weighed 70 tons.
The titanosaur is a big old boy, the biggest to ever walk the Earth, paleontologists say. Another titanosaur replica has earned rave reviews in the last couple of years at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and we’re pretty sure Maximo will be a similar hit with Chicagoans looking to escape the summer heat at the Field.
We’ll admit that we had mixed feelings when we heard the new titanosaur was bumping Sue, the Tyrannosaurus rex who spent 17 years in Stanley Field Hall. Sue is the real deal, we’ve said — as in, she’s actually made of fossils instead of fiberglass.
The titanosaur replicas here and in New York are composites of fossils discovered in 2014 in Patagonia, Argentina. A rancher made the first discovery when he came upon a 100 million-year-old bone protruding through desert land.
We can’t deny that Maximo is a right-sized beast for huge Stanley Field Hall. His head is 28 feet off the ground, while Sue was 13 feet tall at the hip. Stanley Field Hall is a giant space, with a 70 foot-high ceiling. It had made Sue look small.
Sue isn’t leaving us, by the way. She’ll have new digs by next year.
Maximo, which means “maximum” in Spanish, is quickly growing on us. His reddish color matches the color of the soil that had tinted the fossils found in Argentina. You can walk underneath him and touch him, something you can’t do with dinosaur fossils.
So the next time you’re at the museum, get up close and personal.
“Snap your perfect selfie,” as the Field’s website urges visitors, with the dinosaur’s head peeking over the second-floor balcony.
Watch a time-lapse of Máximo’s cast being assembled over three days:
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