Anyone passing through the French capital between mid-September and October will have the chance to see “Big John”, the largest triceratops known to date, more than 66 million years old. auctioned on October 21 at the Hotel Drouot in Paris.
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The skull alone is two meters wide. About 200 bones and the large horns of “Big John” were being assembled this Tuesday (31) behind the windows of an exhibition gallery, in the Marais district, in central Paris, where the animal will be exposed between days September 16th and October 15th (13 rue des Archives).
Triceratops skeleton that will be shown in Paris before being auctioned. — Photo: Lewis Joly/AP
Estimated to be worth between €1.2 and 1.5 million, the only specimen of this size – more than 60% complete (75% for the skull) – was discovered in 2014 in South Dakota, United States, by geologist Walter W. Stein Bill. The fossil restoration was carried out in Trieste, Italy.
The prehistoric animal, a type of herbivorous, quadrupedal dinosaur, lived on Laramidia, an extinct island continent that stretched from present-day Alaska to Mexico. His death in a floodplain, probably after a fight as indicated by a laceration near the skull, allowed the skeleton to be preserved in mud, a sediment with no biological activity.
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For the first time on the market, the “Big John” will be auctioned on October 21st by auction house Giquello. Before, from October 18th to 20th, the triceratops will be exhibited in the Drouot Hotel’s halls.
“For this triceratops, which has a world export license, we have around ten possible buyers,” explains auctioneer Alexandre Giquello. “At the same time, we’re going to present the femur of a diplodocus, 150 million years old, and the skull of a mammoth, 100,000 years old,” adds the auctioneer.
Big John, the world’s largest known triceratops — Photo: Lewis Joly/AP
This sale comes as the craze for dinosaur skeletons continues to rise. Prices reached record highs, much to the annoyance of museums and research centers, often unable to surpass bid values.
In October, a rare skeleton of Allosaurus, one of the oldest dinosaurs, considered the “grandfather” of the dreaded T-Rex, was auctioned in Paris to an anonymous buyer for just over €3 million (with fees), double of the initially estimated value.
A few weeks earlier, in New York, a 67-million-year-old T-Rex skeleton had been sold for $31.8 million, setting a record for a dinosaur, when the estimate was between $6 and 8 million.
By 2020, however, several dinosaurs offered in Paris could not find buyers as reserve prices were not met.
The world’s oldest predatory dinosaur fossil is found in southern Brazil