On the 20th of October 2022, auctioneer Alexandre Giquello
and expert Iacopo Briano will offer for sale the fossilized skeleton of Zephyr, a dinosaur of the iguanodon family that lived more than 150 million years ago, at their annual Naturalia auction at Drouot, Paris. The estimate is between 400 000 and 500 000 euro.
Discovered in 2019 in Colorado (during road construction works on private land), Zephyr underwent a meticulous restoration by a team of Italian commercial paleontologists.
After having sold several important specimens at Drouot, maître Giquello and Iacopo Briano will present this time a specimen with dimensions close to those of a work of art, Zephyr is more than 3 meters long and 1,30 meters high.
Zephyr has been discovered in 2019 in Colorado, US during the construction of a road on private lands rich in fossiliferous deposits dating from the Morrison Formation. The presence of rivers and floodplains during the Upper Jurassic (152-145 MA) allowed the preservation of many dinosaur bones for millions of years.
Complete at 70% the skeleton of Zephyr has a backbone and lower limbs particularly well preserved. The rarity of the specimen is also due to the presence of several fossilized tendons on the hips and dorsal area.
Result of a meticulous work of thousands of hours executed by a team of paleontologists and preparators, the restoration and the assembly of the skeleton has been carried out by the Italian company Zoic. Specialized in the restoration of prehistoric specimens since its creation forty years ago by Flavio Bacchia, this reference workshop has already brought back to life dinosaurstoday exhibited in several international museums.
The collaboration between Zoic and Alexandre Giquello since 2017 at Drouot has placed them at the top of dinosaur sales in Europe. The Triceratops Big John sold in 2021 at a record price of 6.6 M, while the allosaurus Big Sarah flew away in 2020 at 3 M. In 2018 an allosaurus and a diplodocusreached 2.8 M.
Like its fellow Iguanodons, Zephyr had a massive body. Its robust hind legs, on which it stood most of the time, are both bipedal and quadrupedal, in contrast to its front legs, which are smaller but have extremely sharp thumbs that allow it to defend itself. Iguanodons are distinguished by a pelvis and a beak like those of birds. On their large feet, however, they reach a running speed of 25 km/h.
The iguanodon is the second dinosaur described by paleontologists while the first remains belonging to members of the family Camptosauridae to which Zephyr belongs, were discovered in 1879 by William Harlow Reed in Albany County, Wyoming, and subsequently studied by the famous paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh.