Dinosaur 13

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Dinosaur 13
Dinosaur 13 poster.jpg
Sundance Film poster
Directed by Todd Douglas Miller
Produced by Todd Douglas Miller
Music by Matt Morton
Cinematography Thomas Petersen
Edited by Todd Douglas Miller
Statement Pictures
Distributed by CNN Films
Release date
  • January 16, 2014 (2014-01-16) (Sundance)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Dinosaur 13 is a 2014 American documentary film directed and produced by Todd Douglas Miller.[1] The film premiered in competition category of U.S. Documentary Competition program at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 16, 2014.[2][3]

After its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, CNN Films and Lionsgate acquired distribution rights of the film.[4][5] In 2015 Dinosaur 13 won the Emmy for Outstanding Science and Technology Programming at the 36th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards. [6]


The film depicts the event of 1990, when American paleontologist Sue Hendrickson working with Pete Larson and his team discovered the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found (nicknamed "Sue") while digging in the badlands of South Dakota. The skeleton was seized from Larson by the federal government, followed by a ten-year-long battle with the FBI, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Maurice Williams, the landowner on whose property the bones were discovered. Pete Larson also spent 18 months in prison.[7]


The film received positive response from critics. Dennis Harvey, in his review for Variety, called the documentary "engrossing".[8] Duane Byrge of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film positive review and said that it involves a "story of scientific discovery and petty politics".[9] Eric Kohn from Indiewire in his review said that "A subset of the recent scientific-documentary-as-thriller tradition epitomized by The Cove and Blackfish, Todd Douglas Miller's Dinosaur 13 is both awe-inspiring and tragic."[10]

After the film aired, The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, a society of professional academic paleontologists that depend largely on government grants for research as well as access to publicly-owned land to carry out their work on, issued a statement of full support for legally-protecting fossils on public land and criticized Dinosaur 13 for implying that government ownership of fossil specimens impedes paleontological science.[11]


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