A paleontology lover walked away with a mysterious dinosaur skeleton when it was auctioned off at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
French auction house Aguttes sold a 150-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton on June 4. The frame, which was 70 percent intact, is 30 feet long and 9 feet high. It belonged to a new species of a carnivorous dinosaur. The dinosaur was discovered at the Morrison Formation in Wyoming in 2013. Scientists believe that the Morrison Formation covered most of the western United States between 155 and 148 million years ago.
Three years later, researchers were assembling the mystery dinosaur. They noticed some differences between this specimen and other dinosaurs. Aguttes noted in a press release that the scientists discovered that this unknown species had additional teeth and its shoulder blades were elongated. Also, the research team pointed out that this dinosaur also had differences in both its skull and pelvis compared to other fossils.
The $2.3 Million Sale
The unknown dinosaur was snatched up by an unidentified French art collector. The buyer paid over €2 million ($2.3 million) for a chance not only to own this piece of history but also have the opportunity to name this dinosaur potentially. Before the auction, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology sent a letter to Aguttes on behalf of more than 2,200 members. They urged the auction house not to sell the dinosaur due to their concern of having valuable fossils in private.
Paleontologist Eric Mickeler, who assisted Aguttes in evaluating the mysterious dinosaur, believed that the buyer could give the specimen to a museum. He noted that a significant number of museums do not have the money to make a massive purchase.
"Based on my experience, I believe it will end up in a museum. When private enterprises or sponsors buy a dinosaur's skeleton, they usually donate it or make a permanent loan to public institutions," said Mickeler to ABC News.
A Cincinnati brewery had the opportunity to display a Galeamopus skeleton. The nearly 50-foot fossil was discovered in 2000 by a Montana rancher who reported the bones to the Cincinnati Museum Center researchers. It took four years to remove the bones from the ranch and seven additional years to assemble the Galeamopus skeleton.
Eleven-year-old Ryleigh Taylor discovered a 475-million-year-old fossil when she walked along the banks of Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. With the help of University of Tennessee researchers, they found out that the fossil belonged to a trilobite. The trilobite was a marine creature that lived nearly 500 million years ago.
Tech Times contacted Aguttes for a comment on the story.