Huge carnivorous dinosaur skeleton goes up for auction in New York
As far as collectibles go, it’s hard to find something cooler than the skeleton of a long-dead apex predator. The latest to hit the auction block is a Gorgosaurus, a distant relative of T-rex, which will be offered for sale by Sotheby’s New York this month as the headline act for its Natural History sale.
Although pretty much any carnivorous dinosaur is going to be compared to the Tyrannosaurus rex, Gorgosaurus was separated by about 10 million years of evolution and several branches of the family tree. It dates back about 77 million years and was a touch smaller than its famous cousin, but still strikes an imposing figure, with this specimen standing almost 3 m (10 ft) tall and stretching about 6.7 m (22 ft) long.
The skeleton on offer here comes from a mature adult animal, with a well-preserved skull. That includes the three major bones of the eye socket, which was more rounded than those of other tyrannosaurids and is a feature often used to distinguish between species. Much of the rest of the skeleton is present and accounted for too, including most of its neck, back and tail vertebrae, and a near-complete pelvis.
All this could be yours – provided you’ve got a few million dollars lying around. Sotheby’s New York will be auctioning off this Gorgosaurus on July 28, where it’s expected to go for between US$5 and $8 million. It will be one of the highlights of the auction house’s Natural History collection, which also includes the skulls of a Triceratops and a saber-toothed cat.
It’s always a little bit sad to see such amazing scientific specimens go under the hammer for private sale. While the winning bidder will sometimes donate the items to a museum or other institution, they increasingly vanish behind closed doors where they can no longer be enjoyed by the public or studied by scientists. It’s a fate that’s befallen some particularly amazing specimens in recent years, including Stan, the most complete T-rex ever found, and Big John, the largest known Triceratops.
There’s no telling where this Gorgosaurus might end up, but hopefully it won’t just clutter up the ball room of some billionaire’s third summer mansion. If you’re in the New York area, the skeleton will be on display in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries from 21 July, which might just be your last chance to see it.