Love it or hate it, dinosaur bones have become collectibles. Despite some criticism from the scientific community, six skeletons were auctioned off last year alone. Even high-profile celebs like Nicolas Cage have snapped up skulls. It’s a jurassic trend, if you will.
The latest to go under the gavel is a giant skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex called TRX-293 Trinity. The 67-million-year-old dino will be offered in a dedicated sale at Koller in Zurich, Switzerland, on April 18, and is expected to fetch between roughly $5.4 million and $8.7 million.
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Measuring nearly 13 feet tall and 38 feet long, the T.rex is a remarkably well-restored original fossil that comprises 293 bones from a trio of dinosaurs. (This explains the “293” and “Trinity” in its name.) All three specimens were unearthed from the Hell Creek and Lance Creek formations in Montana and Wyoming between 2008 and 2013.
These North American locations actually produced two other exceedingly valuable T.rexes: Sue achieved $8.4 million at Sotheby’s in 1997, while Stan realized a record $31.8 million at Christie’s in 2020. Almost all of the other fossilized T.rexes are housed in museums, which makes the sale of Trinity very rare.
What adds to the rarity is the dinosaur’s incredibly preserved skull which comes from a single specimen discovered in Lance Creek. This is quite unusual as most dinosaurs that died in the Jurassic or Cretaceous periods are found without their skull. Moreover, the skull bones are often not fused together and can detach from each other easily.
“In general, dinosaur skulls are quite rare; they are among the most precious components,” scientific advisor and consultant Nils Knötschke said in a statement. “To be honest, I was quite nervous when we mounted the skull here in Switzerland since I was so much in awe of it.”
Koller says this is the first T.rex skeleton to be offered for auction in Europe. Judging by recent history, it may not be the last.
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