T. rex skull could sell for Millions at Auction

A Tyrannosaurus skull of a rex is likely to fetch as much as $20 million when it goes to auction the beginning of next month. T. rex skull, given the name Maximus and is among the largest and most complete of the kind that has ever been discovered in the auction market, according to the auction house in a press release on Tuesday and added that it is an “rare and significant paleontological find.”

Over 200 pounds in weight and standing at 6 feet and 7.5 inches (2 meters) tall, the massive skull could be an extremely precious fossils that are auctioned off when it is auctioned off during a sale held in New York.

In describing the fossil in terms of being “extremely uncommon,” the auction house’s chief of popular culture and science, Cassandra Hatton, said in an announcement that the auction is one of “unprecedented event.” Maximus was found on private property in the well-studied Hell Creek Formation in South Dakota. The skull was part of an adult dinosaur and all of its “tooth-bearing jaw parts” were preserved, as well as the majority of its other bones. The remainder of the skeleton had been damaged by erosion, since the site of excavation had been badly weathered throughout the years The auction house stated. “This T. rex fossil is a stunning find,” said Henry Galiano who is a Sotheby’s natural-history consultant in a statement to the press. “Unearthed by one of the largest regions for T. reptile bones, this skull has retained the majority of its original shape and appearance, with the tiniest and delicate bones remaining intact, and with an extremely high level of scientific authenticity.

“Without the expertise of the fieldpalaeontologists who meticulously extracted and preserved this skull, it could be lost to erosion and lost forever to science,” he added.

Fossil auction controversy

This month marks 25 years since an T. reptile known as Sue was the first dinosaur to be auctioned. The auction was auctioned off to the highest bidder for $8.36 million. 

The sale in 1997 was a source of controversy however, some experts were concerned that the specimens from private collections would be unavailable to study scientifically.  “In several places where dinosaur fossils are found, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for professional paleontologists to gain permission to gather fossils on private land due to the value to fossils in the market,” wrote paleontologist John W. Hoganson in the 1998 issue of North Dakota Geological Survey’s publication.

It’s a question that has been a source of controversy for massive fossil auctions for years. This season, Sotheby’s offered the skull of an Gorgosaurus which is one of the relatives of the T. T. rex at a price of just under $6 million, triggering questions from experts. It was the first fossil of its kind to be sold to private owners, with the other fossils stored in museums collections.

“In my personal opinion, there are just negatives,” P. David Polly who is an associate professor and chair in the department of atmospheric and earth sciences in Indiana University Bloomington, told CNN at the time of the Gorgosaurus sale. “While it is true that there isn’t a statute in the US which supports this sale for fossils that are found on private land, it’s not difficult to me, as an scientist, to assert that the fossil is of great importance for all of us and ought to be placed in an accessible repository that is able to be studied in a place where people can benefit from it and appreciate the experience.”

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