A stegosaurus fossil is going up for sale – but not everyone is happy


likeTegosaurus The skeleton, described as “the most complete and best preserved” of its kind ever discovered, is expected to fetch up to $6 million. auction This summer – but not everyone is happy about it.

The “exceptional” and “almost complete” dinosaur fossil, which measures 11 feet long and 20 feet long, will be sold as part of Sotheby’s annual Geek Week.

Paleontologists have questioned selling such specimens to private bidders, arguing that such finds should be preserved in museums or other public places.

However, that will not prevent the auction of the 150-million-year-old fossil from going ahead in New York on July 17.

Apex, as it’s called, is “the finest Stegosaurus specimen ever to hit the market.” Sotheby’s He said in a press release on Wednesday. The auction house added that it is expected to sell for between $4 million and $6 million, making it one of the most expensive dinosaur fossils ever offered for sale.

Distinctively shaped, Stegosaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur with a small head and bony plates running down its back, ending in a spiked tail.

A commercial paleontologist named Jason Cooper discovered Apex on his private land in Colorado, and Sotheby’s said it was involved in the process from the beginning.

The auction house collaborated closely with Cooper “To document the entire process, from discovery and excavation to restoration, preparation and installation, ensuring that specimen documentation and sale are handled with the highest standards and transparency.”

This collaboration “continues Sotheby’s legacy of pioneering natural history auctions,” she said.

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The fossil, nicknamed Apex, was discovered by a commercial paleontologist on his private land in Colorado.

But some see it differently.

Steve Brusatte, professor of paleontology and evolution at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, described the specimen as an “important dinosaur fossil,” especially since there are “far fewer good (stegosaurus) skeletons than other famous dinosaurs such as T. rex and Triceratops.”

This, according to Brusatte, is part of the reason why the matter has not reached the hands of the private sector.

“If what the auction house says is true, and what I see in these photos is true, then this skeleton really belongs in a museum, where it can be preserved, studied by scientists and displayed to inspire people.” “From all walks of life,” he said in an email to CNN on Thursday.

“It is a great shame when a fossil like this, which can educate and arouse the curiosity of many people, disappears in the palace of the few.”

Apex was discovered in the Morrison Formation in Moffat County, Colorado — and in close proximity to dinosaur town — in May 2022. It took more than a year to fully excavate the specimen, which turned out to contain evidence of arthritis. Suggesting that it lived to an advanced age, with no signs of fighting or predation-related injuries.

The highest bidder will receive a copy of the dinosaur scan data, as well as a full license to use any 3D data however they choose. This, according to Sotheby’s, “will allow primary information about the dinosaur to remain with the specimen and foster collaboration in future research and education.”

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There were no signs of injury on the specimen but there was evidence of arthritis, indicating that the dinosaur lived to an advanced age.

However, Brusatte argues that research and education would be better if the fossil was owned by an institution with dinosaur expertise.

“Wealthy people will always be able to outbid museums when a dinosaur is sold on the open market, so I hope that if someone has the means to buy a fossil like this, and this fossil captures their imagination, they will do so.” “Donate it to the museum,” Brusatte said.

“What a legacy that will be – to have your dinosaur on display in front of the public, and to have your name up in lights as the donor who saved the dinosaur for science, while children and families walk around and look at this magnificent prehistoric creature.”

The Natural History Museum in London is home to ‘Sophie’, a similar fossil – although ‘Apex’ is at least 30% larger, according to Sotheby’s.

Cassandra Hatton, head of Sotheby’s global science and popular culture department, described Apex Peak as “simply one of the finest fossils of its kind ever discovered.”

Visitors to Sotheby’s New York galleries will be able to see Apex as part of a free exhibition of some of the items up for sale during Geek Week.

Sotheby’s “legacy of pioneering natural history auctions,” as it refers to it, includes the 2022 sale of an ancient Gorgosaurus skeleton, which sold for just over $6 million. It also sold the first standalone T-Rex skull with “Maximus” in December 2022.

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Stan, the world’s most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, It set a new world record in 2020 when it sold for $31.8 million At Christie’s. At the time of the sale, paleontologists feared the fossil would be lost to science, but in March, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism revealed plans to make Stan the star attraction of a new natural history museum, expected to open in 2025 in Abu Dhabi. Antelope, as well CNN reported earlier.

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