A mysterious dinosaur skeleton was sold in a Paris auction house for more than $2,000,000. The skeleton belongs to a species that has not been yet identified. The unidentified bidder could now give a name to a new dinosaur species.
Paleontologists believe the fossil is 150 million years old and belongs to a 9-foot-high 30-foot-long predator. The skeleton was unearthed five years ago in Wyoming. Researchers said that the fossil is 70% complete. It is very rare for a dinosaur skeleton to have so many original fossilized bones.
Researcher Eric Mickeler, a dinosaur expert who offered his expertise to the auction house Aguttes, is confident the species is undocumented.
A Longevous Dinosaur
Experts’ first impression was that the skeleton was an allosaurus. An in-depth examination revealed that the fossil had features that cannot be found in Allosaurus. The distinctive features included unique bone structures and more teeth. Mickeler believes that the predator had a long life.
Looking at them, we can tell this carnivorous dinosaur died at an old age,
the paleontologist added.
Experts recommend further research to confirm that the mystery skeleton is indeed a new species. Last week, the Maryland-based Society of Vertebrate Paleontology urged the Aguttes auction house to cancel the auction, expressing concerns that the valuable fossil could be bought by a private individual instead of scientists. SPV has 2,200 members.
However, museums don’t have the cash to purchase such rare fossil. Mickeler hopes the private bidder will put the skeleton on display. He is confident the fossil will be donated to a museum or public institution.
The new owner, who has not been identified, bought the fossil for $2,360,389. The auction house will donate parts of the profit to Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre and Sea Shepherd, two nonprofits that seek to protect endangered species.
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