Close Enough to Smell a T. Rex’s Breath

Replica of 67-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton now on display at the Royal BC Museum.

Trex online story - Jul/Aug 2023

BY LIAM RAZZELL | PHOTOS BY LIAM RAZZELL

Jump back in time to the Late Cretaceous period at the Royal BC Museum’s new exhibit — SUE: The T. rex Experience — and prepare to be awed. 

Discovered in South Dakota in 1990 by archeologist Sue Hendrickson, SUE is the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found. 

At the exhibit entrance, the skeleton of one of the T. rex’s strongest foes, the triceratops, greets attendees. Inside, a large mural displays the T. rex’s lush, swampy environment. Those brave or curious enough can take a whiff of simulated T. rex breath, or rest their elbows on a display to hear and feel the thunderous footsteps of a charging T. rex.

Trex online story - Jul/Aug 2023
Trex online story - Jul/Aug 2023
Trex online story - Jul/Aug 2023
Trex online story - Jul/Aug 2023

SUE’s skeleton — the exhibit’s main draw — towers above onlookers, and not only displays the apex predator’s long tail, tiny arms, powerful legs and razor-sharp teeth, but also provides a snapshot of its rough-and-tumble lifestyle. SUE suffered from broken and diseased ribs. Ripped muscles resulted in scars on its upper arm and shoulder bones. And boreholes from parasites perforate its jawbone, which archaeologists believe may have resulted in a deadly infection. 

SUE died at age 28 — a ripe old age for a T. rex. Now, 67 million years later, its replica stands in downtown Victoria.

The exhibition is organized by the Field Museum in Chicago and is open now until January 7, 2024. Admission is included with museum memberships and general admission tickets.

Read more about the exhibit here.