WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- “Big John,” the world’s biggest Triceratops skeleton, is expected to be sold for over $1.4 million on Oct. 21 at the Drouot auction house in Paris.
- The prehistoric fossil towers over 26 feet and is about 66 million years old.
- Last year, the world’s most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton was sold at Christie’s auction house for a record $31.8 million.
The biggest Triceratops skeleton in the world will be sold at an auction and is expected to go for over $1.4 million.
The prehistoric fossil, named “Big John,” is about 66 million years old. Towering over 26 feet, it’s the biggest specimen of its kind ever discovered, according to French auctioneers Binoche et Giquello.
Bids could go for at least $1.4 million (1.2 million Euros) to $1.7 million (1.5 million Euros) during the auction on Oct. 21 at the Drouot auction house in Paris, CNN reported.
Sales such as this have long been criticized by paleontologists.
Last year, the New York Times reported on the auction of the world’s most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. It was sold at Christie’s auction house for a record $31.8 million. The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology called out the auction house in September 2020 and pointed out the impact it has on researchers studying extinct animals.
“Scientifically important vertebrate fossils are part of our collective natural heritage and deserve to be held in public trust,” the SVP declared.
This Triceratops lived in what is now North America. It is believed to have perished in an ancient flood in South Dakota, the site of its first discovered bones. Geologist Walter W. Stein Bill was the first to unearth one of the bones in May 2014, Reuters reported. The rest of the fossil was unearthed the following year and then restored.
Big John’s skull is eight feet and seven inches long and six feet seven inches wide. Its two massive horns were three feet and seven inches long with a base about one foot wide.
Its many battle scars include a laceration on his collar, which is believed to be an injury from a smaller Triceratops during a battle for territory or a mate.
Dinosaur fossils are usually unearthed in herds, but Triceratops fossils “are usually found individually.” This could suggest that “they may have spent much of their lives alone,” said the U.K.’s Natural History Museum.