A assembled Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton dubbed Trinity sold for 5.5 million Swiss francs ($6.1 million) in a rare auction on Tuesday.
The 3.9 meter tall skeleton, made up of bones from three different T-Rexes estimated to be 65 to 67 million years old, has been sold at the Koller auction house in Zurich after being shipped from the US in nine giant crates.
The skeleton achieved a hammer price of 4.8 million Swiss francs, which rose to 5.5 million with a premium.
Trinity was put up for sale by an anonymous US private individual and was expected to fetch between five and eight million Swiss francs.
It was bought by a European private collector.
As the name suggests, Trinity consists of bones from three dinosaurs excavated between 2008 and 2013 in the Hell Creek and Lance Creek formations in Montana and Wyoming.
The sites are known for the discoveries of two other significant T-Rex skeletons that have been auctioned off.
“Sue” went under the hammer for $8.4 million in 1997, while “Stan” fetched a world-record hammer price of $31.8 million at Christie’s in 2020.
On Trinity, vertebrate paleontologist Thomas Holtz – who opposes the sale of such specimens – told AFP that combining multiple real bones from different individuals into a single skeleton is “misleading” and “inappropriate”.
A little over half of the bone material in the skeleton comes from the three Tyrannosaurus specimens – over the 50 percent mark that experts need for such a skeleton to be considered of high quality.
Holtz of the University of Maryland remained skeptical, insisting Trinity was “actually less of a ‘specimen’ and more of an art installation.”
He also criticized auctions of important dinosaur skeletons and other fossils, which have raised tens of millions of dollars in recent years.
Experts have warned that such a trade could harm science if the samples are placed in private hands and out of the reach of researchers.
But Koller’s Christian Link emphasized that 95 percent of known T-Rexes are currently in museums.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published by a syndicated feed.)
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