At a Paris auction on Thursday, a private, anonymous American collector paid 6.65 million euros ($7.74 million) for the fossilized remains of ‘Big John’. Big John is the largest triceratops dinosaur the paleontologists ever unearthed.
Big John roamed modern-day South Dakota more than 66 million years ago. It got the name after the owner of the land where they discovered the dinosaur’s bones.
“It’s being acquired by an American collector, and that individual is absolutely thrilled with the idea of being able to bring a piece like this to his personal use,” said Djuan Rivers, a representative for the buyer.
They found the first bone from the colossal skeleton, the head alone is 2.62 meters in length and two meters in width
Paleontologists found 60% of the skeleton by 2015. It is a rare feat since the skeleton consists of over 200 fragments. They meticulously put the whole skeleton together piece by piece in Italy to prepare for the Paris auction.
Big John the triceratops
There was a traumatic lesion on the skull. Researchers believe that its cause is that another triceratops hit it from behind.
“The history behind this and the duration of it is absolutely impressive. So to be able to be a part of preserving something of this nature that was actually found in the U.S., in South Dakota, is also something extremely special,” Rivers said.
Then, the name Triceratops means “three-horned face”.
Before commission and other charges, the hammer price at the Drouot auction house was 5.5 million euros. The skeleton was likely to sell between 1.2 and 1.5 million euros, according to Drouot. An unnamed private American bidder bought it.
“It’s a record for Europe,” said auctioneer Alexandre Giquello. He described exponential growth in the relatively new market of dinosaur fossils. “We’re creating a market.”
Last year, Christie’s auction house in New York sold a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton for $31.8 million.