The huge structure (8 meters) was acquired by an American amateur who paid more than 4 times the expected value, after he “fell in love with a 66 million-year-old triceratops,” according to the British newspaper, “The Guardian”.
The price is a “record in Europe” at auctions of dinosaur fossils.
And the sold triceratops, called “Big John”, is preserved in good condition, (the skeleton is 60% complete, and its skull is 70% complete), and it was found in South Dakota in the United States in 2014, and its parts were collected by specialists in Italy, according to what was quoted. The Guardian.
Now the dinosaur will return to its homeland in the United States, where the buyer, whose identity has not been announced, keeps his private collection.
The commissioner of the auction house “Drowe” in Paris, Alexandre Gikello, considered the price “remarkable.”
The world record in this field was set during an auction of “tyrannosaurus” in 2020 in New York, during which a collector paid $31.8 million to purchase the skeleton, according to “AFP”.
According to museum officials and paleontologists, there is a strong feeling of regret that fossils like these will become part of private collections, instead of being displayed in museums.
Paleontologist Frances Duranton said, explaining that the initial price for “Big John” is equivalent to the museum’s budget allocated for acquisition over a period of 20 or 25 years, according to what “AFP” quoted.
But a paleontologist at the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences in Belgium, Pascal Godefroy, has another opinion, saying: “Here, we don’t care… we have a lot of Triceratops,” while Duranton pointed out that this particular structure is “just a little bit bigger.” !
While the curator of the paleontology collections at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Anne-Lise Foley, notes that this structure is important “even if it is for Triceratops”, noting that “there are always aspects that are not well known”. “Some of the bones may be better preserved and may provide new information,” she said.