image

Archaeology

Rare dinosaur skeleton sells for more than US$2 million at auction, with promise of being lent to museum

The bones of what scientists believe to be ‘probably a new species’ of the carnivorous allosaurus were discovered during a dig in the United States in 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2018, 2:08am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2018, 6:05am

The skeleton of an extremely rare form of dinosaur sold for more than €2 million (US$2.3 million) at the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Monday.

The bones of what scientists believe to be “probably a new species” of the carnivorous allosaurus were discovered during a dig in Wyoming in the United States in 2013.

The 150-million-year-old skeleton, which is 70 per cent intact, was snapped up by an unnamed French art collector, who promised that the specimen will be lent to a museum.

The dinosaur, which was more than nine metres (30 feet) long and 2.6 metres (8.5 feet) high, lived during the late Jurassic period, said Eric Mickeler, of the auction house Aguttes.

He said it was the “only one of its species” to have yet been discovered.

Dinosaur expert Eric Geneste had earlier said it was impossible to “classify the skeleton yet as a allosaurus” because it was more robust, “with longer shoulder blades and a different number of teeth”.

Fossil hunting in the Mongolian Gobi – Explorers Club use new technology to unearth dinosaurs

“In fact there are as many differences between it and an allosaurus as between a human and a gorilla,” he added.

Japanese and Swedish telephone bidders also tried to buy the dinosaur, pushing the bidding above the estimate of €1.8 million ($US2.1 million).

This dinosaur from Egypt is a really big deal in more ways than one

The same French auction house sold an allosaurus called “Kan” for €1.1 million (US$1.3 million) in 2016.

Mickeler said that “herbivores do not quite excite businessmen who buy dinosaurs the same way as carnivores do. They want to buy carnivores like themselves.”

Part of the proceeds of the sale of the skeleton by a British collector will go towards financing archaeological digs.