You may not realise, but dinosaur skeletons are bougie investments bought and sold almost exclusively by millionaires, celebrities, and museums. The most expensive skeleton in the world was that of a complete T-Rex that sold for $8.362 million in 1997. Another amusing example was Nicholas Cage, who in 2007 famously outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for the skull of a Tyrannosaurus bataar (a relative of the T-Rex) for $276,000. And now, at another pretentious auction in Paris, an unidentified but complete dinosaur skeleton has been sold to anonymous bidder for $US2.3 million (AU$3 million).
The fossil was dug out of the western US state of Wyoming in 2013 and it’s believed to be a new species from the late Jurassic period. Palaeontologists believe it’s likely to be from the theropod family, which is a group of dinosaurs that includes the Tyrannosaurus rex. There has been criticism of the auction, because many felt placing the skeleton in private hands would prevent further scientific study and identification.
After the sale, the auctioneer was quick to dash these concerns. "The buyer is French and he told me before the sale… 'if I get it, I would present it to the public' and this is amazing," auctioneer Claude Aguttes told the BBC. "Everyone will be able to see it, it will soon be lent to a museum, it will be studied by scientists, everything is perfect."
He didn’t address the fact that the buyer would also now be able to name the new species, pending approval from the scientific community.