NEW YORK – A Tyrannosaurus rex skull unearthed in South Dakota was sold for far less than expected in an auction on Friday.
That is far less than the originally projected amount of $15 million to $20 million for the skull, The New York Times reported.
The skull was sold to an anonymous bidder, according to the auction house There was no minimum reserve.
The skull was excavated in 2020 and 2021 in Harding County, South Dakota, The Associated Press reported. It was found near to where other T. rex skeletons, nicknamed, Sue and Stan were found, Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s head of science and popular culture, told the news organization. She called the area “the world capital for T. rexes.”
The sale in New York comes after a planned auction of a larger T. rex specimen, estimated to sell for between $15 million and $25 million, was withdrawn by Christie’s in Hong Kong after questions were raised about how much real dinosaur bone was included, the Times reported.
Todd Levin, a veteran art adviser, said the collapse of the Christie’s sale might have impacted the Sotheby’s sale.
“It’s all based on confidence,” Levin told the newspaper. “And right now, there’s very low confidence in that arena.”
The fossil is estimated to be 76 million years old and still has most of the external skull and teeth, the AP reported.
Hatton told the news organization that the skull has two large puncture holes, which may be evidence of a fight with another T. rex.
“We don’t know that this is what caused the death of this animal, but we can tell that it did have a major battle during its lifetime.”
The person selling the fossil also remained anonymous, Sotheby’s told the AP.
“Today’s sale was always designed to gauge the market,” Hatton said in a statement. “And we are pleased to have set a significant new benchmark for dinosaur fossils at auction.”
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