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New York auction to sell 150-year-old Stegosaurus skeleton: How much will it cost? – Times of India



New York auction to sell 150-year-old Stegosaurus skeleton: How much will it cost? – Times of India

The largest stegosaurus skeleton ever discovered, named Apex, is expected to fetch millions of dollars at a New York auction next week, sparking concerns from paleontologists. The fossil, dating back approximately 150 million years, was unveiled at Sotheby’s on Wednesday and will remain on display until its sale on July 17.

Apex, standing 11 feet tall and nearly 27 feet long, is described as “the most complete and best-preserved” stegosaurus of its size, with 254 fossil bone elements out of an estimated total of 319. This auction is part of a growing trend, criticized by paleontologists who believe such rare finds should be housed in museums or public spaces rather than sold to private collectors.

“It’s a very, very rare animal, and to find one of this size and this completeness is phenomenal,” said Cassandra Hatton, head of science and popular culture at Sotheby’s. The auction house values Apex at $4-6 million, though this is still less than the $31.8 million record set by the sale of Stan, the most complete tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, in 2020.

Discovered in May 2022 on the private land of paleontologist Jason Cooper, Apex’s entire process from discovery to preparation and mounting has been documented by Sotheby’s in collaboration with Cooper to ensure “the highest standards and transparency.”

The sale of dinosaur fossils has sparked debate within the scientific community. In 2022, Christie’s had to withdraw a T-rex skeleton from auction in Hong Kong due to authenticity concerns. Apex is said to be 30 percent larger than Sophie, the most complete stegosaurus on public display at the Natural History Museum in London.

Hatton acknowledges the controversy, noting, “When you have a scientifically important specimen, the museums usually show up and find donors to bid on their behalf or they bid themselves.” She adds, “Most of the people I work with are donating specimens to museums or loaning them to museums, they understand the significance and importance of these specimens.” According to Sotheby’s, Cooper has already donated fossils to museums worldwide.
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