A Tyrannosaurus Skeleton Will Be Auctioned This Sunday
If a few weeks ago we were talking about art auctions with staggering selling prices, this weekend, a New York auction house has prepared something a bit more different. A Tyrannosaurus skeleton will be auctioned this Sunday.
Sunday’s auction in New York is announcing to be pretty interesting. The Tyrannosaurus skeleton to be put for sale is expected to bring the seller some $1 million. Business Week even writes that with that kind of an item put for auction, you can forget about the Facebook IPO.
The Tyrannosaurus skeleton in question was discovered in the Gobi Desert and measures some 24 feet in length and 8 feet in height. It is one of the rarest such skeletons and the bidding starts at $850,000. Although we’re not talking about the North American T-rex, the skeleton belongs to its cousin from Asia, known as Tyrannosaurus bataar.
The selling pitch sounds pretty good: “nearly complete Tyrannosaurus bataar, fully prepared and mounted”. Plus with 80 percent real claws and 75 percent real teeth, the T-bataar skeleton is an item many museums would love to have on display. That’s particularly why auction organizers are so excited with Sunday’s event.
David Kerskowitz is director of natural history at Heritage Auctions. He tried to explain why Tyrannosaurus skeleton auction is going to be so important. “This is the first time a Tyrannosaurus that is fully prepared and mounted is being sold at auction” he explains. Plus it also helps that it comes already mounted: “It takes about two years and cost a couple hundred thousand dollars to prepare and mount it”.
And it seems this is just the beginning. Kerskowitz believes that “five years from now, the demand for dinosaurs is going to be huge”. “They aren’t making them anymore” jokes the director.
The T-bataar skeleton is expected to sell to a philanthropist, given that museums can’t easily write checks worth $1 million just like that. Kerskowitz added there are “a lot of private collectors that would buy such a specimen. If you think about it, every major natural history museum in America was originally a private collection”.
But if you can’t fit the T-bataar skeleton in your home or budget, you can always check out some of the other fossils on the list. For instance a Dodo skeleton or a reconstructed jaw of a mega shark might work.
As noted by Mark Norell of the American Museum of Natural History:
"In the current catalogue Lot 49317 (skull of Saichania) and Lot 49315 (amounted Tarbosaurus skeleton) clearly were excavated in Mongolia as this is the only locality in the world where these dinosaurs are known. The copy listed in the catalog, while not mentioning Mongolia specifically (the locality is listed as Central Asia) repeatedly makes reference to the Gobi Desert and to the fact that other specimens of dinosaurs were collected in Mongolia.... There is no legal mechanism (nor has there been for over 50 years) to remove vertebrate fossil material from Mongolia. These specimens are the patrimony of the Mongolian people and should be in a museum in Mongolia. As a professional paleontologist, I am appalled that these illegally collected specimens (with no associated documents regarding provenance) are being are being sold at auction."
AND from the UK Daily Mail:
"The 24ft long and 8ft high Tyrannosaurus bataar, a cousin of T-rex which lived around 80 million years ago, was found in Mongolia and acquired by the collector in 2005. AND David Herskowitz, director of natural history at Heritage Auctions in New York, said 'The specimen was found over 10 years ago in the Gobi desert and is owned by a fossil collector from Dorset."
Since there has been no legal mechanism for removing fossils from Mongolia for over 50 years, it is clear that the material is CONTRABAND and the PATRIMONY of the people of Mongolia.