Mystery dinosaur skeleton fetches over $2 million at auction

Dinosaur Sells for Over $2 Million at Auction. Why Paleontologists Are Dismayed

By the time the scientists had catalogued the last bone, they realized they might be staring at the discovery of a lifetime - the 70 percent intact fossil of a carnivorous creature as long as a telephone pole that may represent a new kind of dinosaur.

The French owner of the yet to be identified species bought it for a whopping $2,360,389 and refused to be named in public.

In a joint statement urging Aguttes to cancel the sale, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP), an organisation that represents more than 2,000 worldwide paleontologists, wrote that naming new species is governed by global nomenclature codes, and that the scientific community considers privately owned fossils unethical to name, study or include in scientific literature. The unidentified bidder could now give a name to a new dinosaur species.

"This is remarkable to have such a large amount of original fossilized bones", Mickler said.


"The palaeontologists who were on the digging site really thought it was an Allosaurus", said dinosaur expert Eric Mickeler, who oversaw the auction for Aguttes. An in-depth examination revealed that the fossil had features that can not be found in Allosaurus.

They reportedly noted it had more teeth, a more substantial pelvis, and differences in the skull and shoulder bones. Mickeler believes that the predator had a long life. Because of this, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology asked last month for the sale to be canceled and the skeleton be "held in public trust", but their request was rejected. The organization consisting of 2,200 members said that naming new species follows the strict rules of the International Code of Nomenclature.

However, museums don't have the cash to purchase such rare fossil. Mickeler hopes the private bidder will put the skeleton on display.

Part of the sale profit will go to two charities fighting for the preservation of endangered species: Sea Shepherd and Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre.

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