NEUILLY SUR SEINE .-
The sale of a skeleton of a newly discovered species of carnivorous dinosaur to be sold by Auguttes
auction house in Paris this June offers the opportunity to name a dinosaur after yourself.
This single lot Aguttes sale in France on June 4th is unusual for a number of reasons: this is a unique, recently discovered skeleton of an unknown theropod and is the first auction of such a specimen destined for scientific study.
Eric Genest of Auguttes says: My estimate for this dinosaur is 1.2m to 1.8m. But this is only an estimate. The price for such a rare item can climb very fast because this is a still unknown dinosaur to which the buyer can give his name.
The nine metre long skeleton still has 70 % of the original bone conserved. It was discovered in the course of excavations a carried out in 2013 at a site on the Morrison Formation, an Upper Jurassic geological sequence laid down 155148 million years ago that covers much of the western United States and that is one of the worlds richest sources of dinosaur fossils. It was only in 2016, when the skeleton was being prepared by European specialists, that scientists noticed that the skeleton presented major anatomical differences from known allosaurs: it has more teeth and a more substantial pelvis with a broad suture between the pubic bones, while the scapulae (shoulder blades) are more elongated and there are also differences in the bones of the skull (more the scientific reports are included in the catalogue).
Discovery of a new species of dinosaur
This spectacular specimen shows unexpected anatomical differences from the other large theropods of the Late Jurassic, opening a new line of palaeontological research all the more promising for the skeleton being 70 % complete.
These differences were observed and reported by palaeontologists Pascal Godefroit, a Belgian specialist known for his work on dinosaurs, and Simone Maganuco, of the Museum of Natural History, Milan.
The skeleton has been mounted on a stainless steel structure capable of supporting the weight of the skull, rather than having to replace it with a lighter, resin replica as is the case in most museum displays. This structure, whose lattice construction is a nod to Gustave Eiffel, also allows for individual bones to be removed for scientific study.
The opinion of Eric Mickeler, expert consultant for the sale
Eric Mickeler is employed all over the world as a consultant for the valuation of fossils. Fifteen years ago, he revolutionised the auction market for natural history and cabinets of curiosities, bringing major fossils to auction at Christies, Sothebys and Aguttes, and he is also an enthusiastic populariser of palaeontology among the general public.
The discovery of this specimen probably represents the high point of my career, so significant are its scientific implications, says Eric Mickeler.
Talks on the dinosaur take place on Monday 4 June, at the Salle Gustave Eiffel, 1st Floor, Eiffel Tower. At 3:30 p.m.: Dr Pascal Godefroit, palaeontologist specialising in the dinosaurs
4:15 p.m.: Dr Antoine Louchart, palaeontologist, specialist in the palaeontology of birds, CNRS Lyon
Previous sales of major fossils at AGUTTES
The skeleton of an Allosaurus dinosaur sold by AGUTTES in Lyon on 10 December 2016 for 1,128,000, to KLEBER ROSSILLON, a business that manages historic sites, among them the Caverne du Pont-dArc (replica presentation of the prehistoric art treasures of the Grotte Chauvet), the Musée de Montmartre and the hanging gardens of Marqueyssac in the Dordogne, where this dinosaur skeleton was exhibited.
A mammoth skeleton sold by AGUTTES in Lyon on 16 December 2017 for 548,250 to Strasbourgs SOPREMA, the leaders in waterproofing systems.