… I have had the privilege of handling and selling many exceptional and unique objects, but few have the capacity to inspire wonder and capture imaginations quite like this unbelievable Gorgosaurus skeleton.Global head of science and popular culture for auction house Sotheby’s New York, Cassandra Hatton, on a dinosaur skeleton which sold for more than $6 million at auction house Sotheby’s in New York on Thursday.
Why It Matters: Thursday’s auction marked the first time a Gorgosaurus skeleton has ever been brought to auction, and the only second time Sotheby’s New York has auctioned a complete dinosaur skeleton.
- This Gorgosaurus skeleton was found in 2018, when it was excavated from the Judith River Formation in Montana. The Judith River Formation is “a historically important formation that has been excavated by paleontologists for over a century,” Sotheby’s said.
- All other known Gorgosaurus skeletons are housed in places such as museums, making this skeleton the only one available for someone to privately own.
- Standing roughly 10 feet tall and 22 feet long, “the condition of the skeleton is remarkably pristine due to the slowly deposited sediments of the river ecosystem typical to the area where it was excavated,” said Sotheby’s.
- Fun Facts: Gorgosaurus is roughly 77 million years old, and its name translates from Greek to mean a “lizard” that is “fierce,” “terrifying” or “dreadful.” Gorgosaurus — a close relative of the T. rex — was a master predator of its time, and is thought to have had a bite stronger than any animal living today!
- Context: The first time Sotheby’s sold a dinosaur skeleton, “Sue the T. rex,” was about 25 years ago — the first time a dinosaur skeleton had ever been sold at auction. Some scientists have expressed concern that private sales of such paleontological finds can come with risks to the fossils themselves, as well as the risk of being made “unavailable for scientific study.”
76 million-year-old dinosaur skeleton to be auctioned in NYC (Associated Press)
More on the auction: Natural History, including Gorgosaurus (Sotheby’s)
Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s
by Jenna Lee,