Like most of us, the Smithsonian has always wanted a T.Rex to call its own. Now it’s finally getting one, and the museum is not taking any chances when it comes to protection.
Forget FedEx Express, this dinosaur is riding “FedEx Custom Critical” from Montana — where it was found and has been housed at the Museum of the Rockies — to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.
Custom Critical includes around-the-clock tracking, temperature and pressure monitoring, constant surveillance from a remote security command center, and sensors that allow FedEx to see if the packages are being exposed to light or opened.
The truck transporting the giant skeleton will also be followed by a “chase vehicle.” We asked if we could track the Dino in real-time, but FedEx spokeswoman Liidia Liuksila told us that the truck’s exact location was being kept confidential for security reasons. I wonder how much a T.Rex gets you on the black market.
The monitoring may seem excessive, but the Smithsonian has been hankering for a T.Rex since at least the late 1990s. Back in 1997, the museum had backers ready to offer up a total of $US2.5 million dollars to get a T.Rex skeleton named Sue, according to the Washington Post. It wasn’t enough. Instead, Sue ended up in the hands of The Field Museum Of Natural History in Chicago.
“After the sale of Sue, dinosaur bones were hot,” Randall Kremer, a Smithsonian representative who was at the 1997 auction, told the Washington Post.
Now Smithsonian is just days away from getting their hands on “Big Mike” — as the T. Rex is called in Montana. The skeleton is on loan to the Smithsonian for the next 50 years.
The dinosaur is currently in its second day of a three-day packaging process into 16 crates, said Liuksila, after which point, it will be on its way east. He will arrive in D.C. on April 15.
The first piece of Big Mike’s seven ton, 38-foot-long skeleton was found by a Montana rancher named Kathy Wankle. She found Big Mike’s arm bone — the first T. Rex. arm bone ever found — in 1988. Eventually, about 80% of Big Mike’s skeleton was found, making him one of the most complete T. Rex specimens yet.
Big Mike is not the only strange cargo to end up in FedEx’s care. In the past decade, they have transported parts of the Titanic, 15,000 sea turtle eggs, rescue capsules used in the 2011 Chilean mine rescue, and two pandas, among other things.
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