An Unknown Dinosaur Skeleton Which Could Be a New Species Sold For Over $2 Million

Monday, 04 June 2018 - 7:27PM
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Monday, 04 June 2018 - 7:27PM
An Unknown Dinosaur Skeleton Which Could Be a New Species Sold For Over $2 Million
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Back in 2013, paleontologists dug up an unusual skeleton in Wyoming that clearly belonged to a dinosaur about 150 million years ago, but not one that matched any known species.

Since then, no matches have been made, and it's looking a lot like the skeleton once belonged to an entirely undiscovered species. The skeleton eventually found itself in the care of the auction house Aguttes, and was the centerpiece of a major auction on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, this week. Unsurprisingly, it was sold to a private buyer for an extremely large sum.

The skeleton ended up fetching a price of over $2.3 million, although the auction house refused to name either the buyer or even the seller. An attempt by a scientific group called the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) to stop the sale of the dino was unsuccessful, and they're not happy about such a potentially important find ending up in a private collector's hands.



As for what this means for the dinosaur, the auction house insists that it won't be locked away in some private collection for eternity. The head auctioneer, Claude Aguttes, said that the seller had spoken to him and claimed they did want to show the dinosaur to the public, according to Reuters.

Although they implied that this collector may want naming rights for the dinosaur if it truly is an undiscovered species. Whether that's even possible is yet another point of contention - the SVP wrote an open letter to Aguttes prior to the auction imploring them to remove the skeleton from the auction floor, and mentioned that according to internationally established rules, dinosaur species are named by the first validly published research on the species, not some old rich person that owns the first skeleton.

Essentially, if the collector did buy the skeleton in the hopes that they could name the species, it's unlikely the scientific community will acknowledge that name. Of course, we don't even know who the buyer is yet, much less what they'd want to name the species when they present the skeleton. So this is still hypothetical thus far.



The skeleton itself is fascinating, though: the dinosaur is 30 feet (9 meters) long and appears to be a carnivore from the mid-Jurassic period, and vaguely resembles a Tyrannosaurus Rex even though this skeleton predates that species by an entire era (Rex is a Cretaceous period dinosaur). It could be a new type of Allosaurus, but nobody's entirely sure just yet.

Hopefully we'll find out soon, if the new buyer does let the dinosaur out so the scientific community can take a closer look.
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