67-millon-year-old STAN to be auctioned in Britain
British auction house Christie’s plans to sell the skeleton of one of the largest known Tyrannosaurus rexes in early October, the company said on Wednesday.
The dinosaur known as “STAN,” approximately 67 million years old, was discovered in 1987 in South Dakota by amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison.
“He showed it to scientists at the time who unfortunately misidentified it as a triceratops,” said James Hyslop, Christie’s head of Science and Natural History.
Triceratops remains are relatively common in the paleontological world, so the bones failed to garner much interest until Sacrison took them to the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota in 1992.
Researchers there “realized pretty quickly that they had something special in their hands,” said Hyslop.
They recategorized STAN as a T-Rex and mounted a new search to uncover the rest of the bones. They recovered 188 out of an estimated 300 total for any T-Rex, Hyslop said.
Most T-Rex skeletons are held by museums and private institutions. The auction is an opportunity for a private collector or institution to acquire the bones, Christie’s said.
STAN is 12 meters long and 4 meters high, Christie’s said. He is also notable for two fused vertebrae scientists have identified in his neck, suggesting the dinosaur broke his neck and survived.
“There aren’t very many very good complete skeletons in there,” Hyslop said.
“It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acquire a T-Rex as complete as this.”
Christie’s will display the dinosaur to mid-October at its Manhattan.
“We’ve got the skull displayed at ground level so that you can get really up close and personal with him and just see the serrations on his teeth,” Hyslop said.
“His longest tooth is 11 inches (28 centimeters) long. It’s just terrifying to behold,” he added.
The sale will be held in New York on October 6, with bids expected from US$6 million to US$8 million — putting it within reach of the US$8.4 million paid for a T-rex named Sue in October 1997.