World’s biggest triceratops skeleton goes on sale

September 7, 2021

Auctioneers in Paris will seek to sell in October the world’s biggest skeleton of a 66-million-year-old giant triceratops fossil that is estimated to rake in between 1.2 to 1.5 million euros ($1.4-$1.8 million) at auction on October 21 at the Drouot auction house in Paris.
The triceratops was among the most distinctive dinosaurs due to the three horns on its head – one at the nose and two on the forehead – that give the dinosaur its Latin name.
The fossil, nicknamed “Big John”, has a skull 2.62 metres long and two metres wide. Its biggest horns are 1.1 metres long and over 30 centimetres wide, at their base, able to withstand 16 tons of pressure, making it the biggest Triceratops specimen ever discovered, auctioneers from Drouot said.
A unique specimen with the skeleton more than 60-percent complete — including 75 percent for the skull — Big John was discovered in 2014 in the US state of South Dakota by geologist Walter W. Stein Bill. Its restoration was carried out in Trieste in Italy.
Its sale comes amid continued enthusiasm for dinosaur skeletons, with prices often reaching records that leave public museums and research centres unable to outbid private buyers.
The auction of Big John will not be the first time a dinosaur skeleton has been up for sale.
In October last year, one the world’s most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons broke the world record for any dinosaur skeleton or fossil ever sold when it bought for US$31.8 million ($43 million) at an auction in New York by Christie’s auction house.
However, palaeontologists have expressed concerns about such auctions.
A few weeks before, a 67-million-year-old T-Rex skeleton was sold in New York for $US31.8 million ($42.9 million), smashing records for a dinosaur.
In 2020, however, several dinosaurs offered in Paris did not find takers after minimum prices were not reached.

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