Have you ever wanted to own your very own dinosaur? Not just a toy, but a real-life, hulking creature with sharp teeth and crushing mass? Given how they went extinct 66 million years ago, that is obviously out of the question, but there is the next best thing: a dinosaur skeleton. And one of these fossilized remains is about to come up in an auction.
French auction house Aguttes is putting an actual dinosaur skeleton on sale June 4 in Paris. The fossil belongs to an unidentified species, and is currently owned by an unnamed British businessman. It was dug up in the Morrison Formation in Wyoming, and dates from the late Jurassic period (roughly 163.5 million to 145 million years ago).
According to the listing by Aguttes, the dinosaur was an allosaurus, a genus of large theropod dinosaurs that lived during the late Jurassic. Species from this genus had short three-fingered forelimbs, a large head on top of a short neck, and a long, heavy tale to balance the body.
The specimen being sold stands about 2.6 meters tall, and measures 8.7 meters from its head to the tip of its tail. If It were to be laid flat on the ground to remove the body’s natural curvature, it would be about 9 meters long. Almost 70 percent of the entire skeleton has been pieced together, following its 2013 discovery.
A number of features seen in the carnivore’s skeleton differentiate it from other allosaurids, especially those found in the same region of Wyoming, and paleontologists working with Aguttes said it could be a new species or even an entirely new genus, even though it greatly resembles Allosaurus fragilis.
At present, the skeleton is on display at the Gare des Brotteaux in Lyon, an old railway station which has been converted into an exhibition space. Before the auction, it will be moved to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, where it will be placed on the first floor for the sale. The auction house will ship it anywhere in the world, and Eric Mickeler, a paleontologist who advised Aguttes, could also help the buyer with “all aspects of storage, shipping, assembly and possible commercial display.”
“Keen on fossils for as long as I can remember, I have travelled the world visiting fossiliferous sites, haunting museums and attending specialist events. I have worked as an expert for almost twenty years, for auction houses like Aguttes, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, as well as governments and big international collectors. I have examined and valued many important paleontological species and it is a real privilege to have been involved in the examination of this theropod dinosaur of a hitherto unknown species, a discovery, I am sure, that is destined to make its mark,” Mickeler said.
That it will leave a mark on the buyer’s bank account is certain, since Aguttes — which has sold dinosaur and mammoth skeletons before — has estimated the fetching price between 1.2 million and 1.8 million euros ($1.5-2.2 million), not including a buyer’s premium and applicable taxes.
The twist in this dinosaur tale? Bids can be made in either euros or the world’s best-known cryptocurrency, bitcoin.