Skull Of A Tyrannosaurus Rex May Fetch $20 million In A Auction
As per Sotheby's, a Tyrannosaurus rex skull could sell for up to $20 million at auction following this month.
The auction house stated in a news release on Tuesday that the skull, which has been given the name Maximus, is one of the most complete of its kind ever discovered and that it marks a "unique and important paleontological discovery."
The enormous skull, which weighs more than 200 pounds and is 6 feet, 7.5 inches (2 meters) tall, might end up being one of the most expensive fossils ever sold at auction when it is put up for auction in New York.
Cassandra Hatton, the auction house's worldwide head of science and popular culture, described the fossil as "very uncommon" and referred to the sale as "an exceptional occasion."
In South Dakota's well-researched Hell Creek Formation, Maximus was found on private property. The skull belonged to an adolescent dinosaur, and most of its exterior bones as well as all of its "tooth-bearing jaw components" have been preserved. Since the dig site had been heavily worn over time, the remaining parts of the skeleton were mainly damaged by erosion, according to the auction house.
According to Henry Galiano, a Sotheby's natural history specialist, "This T. rex specimen is a remarkable discovery." "Unearthed in one of the most densely populated locations for T. rex remains, the skull kept an extraordinarily high level of scientific integrity, retaining most of its original form and surface features, with even the smallest and most fragile bones intact.
Without the skillful collection and preservation of this skull by knowledgeable field paleontologists, he continued, "it may have faded away and been lost to science forever."
Fossil auction controversy
It was 25 years ago this month when a T. rex dubbed Sue became the first dinosaur fossil to ever be sold at auction, bringing in $8.36 million. Sue, who Hutton referred to as "the biggest and most complete T. rex yet discovered," was also discovered at the Hell Creek Formation, which, according to Sotheby's, has produced the most T. rex bones anywhere in the world.
However, the 1997 sale sparked debate since several experts feared that without it, individual collections' specimens would no longer be available for scientific research. The expansion of the collectors' market, according to paleontologists, makes it more difficult for them to do excavation work on private property.
According to paleontologist John W. Hoganson in a 1998 issue of the North Dakota Geological Survey's newsletter, "in so many places where dinosaur bones are discovered, it is becoming increasingly challenging for expert paleontologists to acquire permission to gather fossils on private property because of the financial value of fossils."
Since then, a discussion has centered on major fossil auctions. A cousin of the T. rex called a Gorgosaurus was auctioned by Sotheby's earlier this year for just over six million dollars, raising new questions among specialists. The other known examples of its sort are all preserved in museum collections, making it the only fossil of its kind that has ever been made available for private purchase.
David Polly, a professor and the department's chair of earth & atmospheric sciences at Indiana University Bloomington, told CNN at the time of the Gorgosaurus sale, "In my perspective, there are just disadvantages. Although no legislation in the US permits this for fossils that are found on private property, it is simple for me to argue as a scientist that the fossil is significant to all of us and should go into a public repository where it can be researched and the public as a whole may benefit from it.
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