NPR ran a great story last week called Bone to Pick: First T. Rex Skeleton Complete at Last. Carl Mehling, curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, found a stray bone labeled 973, identified as belonging to the first T. Rex and gave it to the Carnegie Museum to finally complete the first T. Rex skeleton.But the best parts of the story for me were about the man who discovered the first T. Rex skeleton and sold it to the Carnegie Museum in the first place: Barnum Brown, “the Indiana Jones of dinosaur hunters”.
Named after P.T. Barnum, Brown was a pioneering dinosaur hunter who traveled extensively, dressed nattily, lived through personal tragedy and had many a romance, including his second wife Lillian who wrote a memoir called I Married A Dinosaur. He also served as a dinosaur expert on such films as Fantasia. Remember the amazing dinosaurs in The Rite of Spring? There is a good Barnum Brown biography at Strange Science if you want to learn more. I’m going to have to pick up the book on him that came out last year, Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus rex. From the review at the Smithsonian blog, it sounds like a great read.