Paleontologists are unhappy with the sale of a 150 million-year-old dinosaur skeleton at auction next month

The skeleton of a baby dinosaur that lived 150 million years ago is set to sell for $500,000 at Dreux Auctions in Paris next month, as auctioneers tout it as perfect for someone’s living room, but paleontologists argue it belongs in a museum.

The specimen, said to be Iguanodon, is four feet tall and 9.8 feet long, but Steve Brusatte, an American paleontologist affiliated with the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said it’s ‘much more than a petting affair’. their living rooms.

Dinosaurs would look good in the living room too, but they don’t belong in it. They belong to a museum, where they can be preserved, studied by scholars and presented to the public, where they educate and inspire people.

Dinosaur bones have turned from research tools into valuable pieces of art over the past few decades, and what museums once bought at a reasonable price are now being auctioned off to the highest bidder — and it could be millions of dollars.

Paleontologists are not only unhappy with a future sale, one thinks the specimen has been misidentified as a Camptosaurus – also a herbivore.

Thomas Carr, a paleontologist from Carthage College in Wisconsin, told DailyMail.com that he’s no expert on ornithopods, but if auction houses can’t correctly identify the fossil, it’s a clear indication that they shouldn’t be. In the business of selling things they know nothing about.

He went on to explain that no species of Iguanodon existed from the late Jurassic period of North America, which is the time when the auction house says this dinosaur roamed the Earth.

The skeleton of a baby dinosaur that lived 150 million years ago is set to sell for $500,000 at Drew Auctions in Paris next month.

Auctioneers say its small size makes it perfect for someone's living room, but Steve Brusatte, an American paleontologist affiliated with the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said that

Auctioneers say its small size makes it perfect for someone’s living room, but Steve Brusatte, an American paleontologist affiliated with the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said it’s “much more than just decorations for the rich to put in their living rooms”.

It has not yet been demonstrated that the skeleton is or is not an iguanodon. DailyMail.com has contacted Drouot for comment.

The dinosaur, partially restored by Italian paleontologists, was discovered in 2019 in Moffat County, Colorado, while building roads on private land – and little is known about its journey from land to Paris auction house.

Dubbed a sapphire, the specimen is four feet high and 9.8 feet long, which Alexandre Gikello told Reuters is the perfect size for a one-of-a-kind home decorating piece.

“It’s a shame to see a specimen like this go to auction – we stand to lose so much information about this dinosaur’s growth if it were sold to a wealthy person as home decor,” said Carr.

Carr also told DailyMail.com that “it’s hard to tell how much of the skeleton has been restored and if it’s actually complete,” but it’s so well preserved.

However, there is now an idea that the auction house misnamed the dinosaur.

Iguanodon was a very large herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods (161.2 million to 99.6 million years ago) in a wide area of ​​Europe, North Africa, North America, Australia and Asia.

Paleontologists are not only unhappy with a future sale, one thinks the specimen has been misidentified as being in fact a Camptosaurus - also a herbivore.

Paleontologists are not only unhappy with a future sale, one thinks the specimen has been misidentified as being in fact a Camptosaurus – also a herbivore.

No species of iguanodon existed from late Jurassic North America, which is the time when the auction house says this dinosaur roamed the earth, Thomas Carr, a paleontologist from Carthage College in Wisconsin, told DailyMail.com

Carr suggests that it is actually a camptosaur.  The two look very similar

No species of iguanodon existed from late Jurassic North America, which is the time when the auction house says this dinosaur roamed the earth, Thomas Carr, a paleontologist from Carthage College in Wisconsin, told DailyMail.com

It is known, due to the creature’s fossil finds, that this dinosaur walked on all fours.

However, the specimen that will go on sale next month has short front arms, which is not a common feature of Iguanodon.

On the other hand, Camptosaurus had smaller forelimbs and is found mainly in Utah, Nebraska and Colorado – only a few fossils belonging to Iguanodon have been found in the US state.

Camptosaurus roamed the Earth from the Upper Jurassic period (163 million years ago) to 145 million years ago.

The pair have similar body shapes and five fingers on each hand, along with what appears to have been the same shape as skulls.

If the skeleton was sold abroad to a private buyer, very few people in the United States would even have a chance to see it. ‘If he doesn’t go to a museum,’ said Carr, ‘we’ll never know anything about him.’

‘A terrible situation everywhere; With these auctions, the art world is doing real damage to science, and I hope they shine and stop selling these irreplaceable specimens.

Regardless of whether the dinosaur was misnamed or not, paleontologists still aren’t happy with losing another specimen, as many have recently been bought up by private bidders.

Dinosaur bones have turned from research tools into valuable pieces of art over the past few decades, and what museums once bought at a reasonable price are now being auctioned off to the highest bidder — and it could be millions of dollars.  Paleontologists hope that whoever buys this skeleton will donate it to a museum

Dinosaur bones have turned from research tools into valuable pieces of art over the past few decades, and what museums once bought at a reasonable price are now being auctioned off to the highest bidder — and it could be millions of dollars. Paleontologists hope that whoever buys this skeleton will donate it to a museum

The dinosaur, partially restored by Italian paleontologists, was discovered in 2019 in Moffat County, Colorado while building roads on private land - and little is known about its journey from land to Paris auction house

The dinosaur, partially restored by Italian paleontologists, was discovered in 2019 in Moffat County, Colorado while building roads on private land – and little is known about its journey from land to Paris auction house

In July, a 10-foot-tall skeleton of a Gorgosaurus sold for $6.1 million to an anonymous bidder at Sotheby’s in New York City.

It is not known if it was purchased by a private collector or museum.

Carr told DailyMail.com last month:[Sales like this] It is similar to the last copy of a book that was thrown into a fire – when the skeleton was purchased by a private collector, it is not there for scientists anymore.

Imagine that all we know about humanity is just you and me. Obviously, this is not enough information to know for everyone.

Carr said the dinosaur fossils should be placed somewhere, such as the Museum of Natural History in New York City, that is accessible to the scientific community, experts say, or else they will be considered lost to the world.

However, auction houses say there is no evidence that selling to private collectors is detrimental to science.

Cassandra Hutton, Senior Vice President of Sotheby’s, told DailyMail.com: “The great museums of the world began as private collections, and indeed the concept of the museum was born out of the early modern tradition of curiosity vaults.

These specimens have survived for millions of years, and will be around for millions of years; While there is a chance it may not be available to study right after the sale, it sure will be at some point in the future.

Collectors and private research institutions can benefit from each other in ways necessary to preserve fossil specimens for the long term and to raise awareness, as well as educate the public about dinosaurs.

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