Dinosaur Skeleton Sold in Controversial Auction

Anonymous buyer shells out $2.3M for possibly new species, over scientists' objections
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2018 2:58 PM CDT
Dinosaur Skeleton Sold in Controversial Auction
File photo of a dinosaur track fossilized in an ancient shoreline near Shell, Wyoming. The newly sold dinosaur also roamed in Wyoming.   (The Billings Gazette/Brett French via AP)

An anonymous bidder is now the new owner of a huge and possibly unprecedented dinosaur skeleton, and scientists aren't happy about it. The buyer paid $2.3 million for the 150-million-year-old fossil at an auction in the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Monday, reports AFP. The skeleton of the dinosaur, which is 70% intact, is 30 feet long and 9 feet high. (See images in the auction brochure.) The creature roamed what is now Wyoming, where the bones were found in 2013. Paleontologists say it's closest in appearance to a dinosaur known as an Allosaurus, but it has enough differences to suggest that it's an entirely different species, reports CNN.

French auction house Aguttes went ahead with the auction despite a letter from the Society of Veterbrate Paleontology asking that it be canceled. The group says the skeleton should remain in the "public trust" rather than in the hands of a private owner to ensure its proper study. It also objected to the auction house's suggestion that the new buyer could name the specimen. Auctioneer Claude Auguttes tells Reuters that the new owner has pledged to lend it to a museum and make it available to scientists. "Everything is perfect," he says. A post at Nature notes that the increasing popularity of such sales keeps raising prices, putting the specimens further out of reach from public institutions and museums. (Read more dinosaurs stories.)

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