A mysterious dinosaur skeleton fetched more than $2 million at a Paris auction organized by Auctioneers Aguttes on June 4, ABC News reports.
Originally estimated to be worth up to €1.8 million, the specimen was sold off to an unnamed private collector for the U.S. equivalent of $2,360,389.
Displayed on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, the extremely rare dinosaur skeleton dates back to the late Jurassic period and is 150 million years old.
According to paleontologist Eric Mickeler, who evaluates specimens for the French auction house, the exhibit is believed to be “probably a new species” of Jurassic carnivore that is yet to be designated and cataloged by science.
Standing 9 feet tall and measuring 30 feet in length, this never-before-seen dinosaur skeleton — the “only one of its species,” notes Mickeler — was initially mistaken for an allosaurus, a large carnivorous dinosaur that walked on two legs and thrived during the late Jurassic.
The newly sold dinosaur skeleton was discovered in Wyoming in 2013. Unearthed from the Morrison Formation site, the specimen is largely intact and has 150 bones, tipping the scale at around 1,760 pounds.
As Mickeler points out, the find is truly spectacular, as dinosaur skeletons in such a nearly complete state seldom turn up in most paleontological discoveries.
“The skeleton is 70% complete. This is remarkable to have such a large amount of original fossilized bones.”
Because this is the first specimen of its kind that has ever been found, its new owner might get to have a say in what the new dinosaur species will be called, notes ABC News.
“Scientists first thought it was an allosaurus, but after an in-depth examination, the skeleton presented major anatomical differences from known allosaurs — notably more teeth and distinctive bones,” said Mickeler.
Aside from the different number of teeth, one of the major differences between an allosaurus and this particular dinosaur skeleton is that the latter has a more robust stature and longer shoulder blades, dinosaur expert Eric Geneste told AFP.
“In fact, there are as many differences between it and an allosaurus as between a human and a gorilla.”
The media outlet reports that the mystery winning bidder has promised not to keep the precious fossil all to himself and intends to lend it to a museum.
The specimen raised a lot of interest at the Paris auction, as both Japanese and Swedish telephone bidders also tried to acquire the rare dinosaur skeleton, raising up the price above its initially estimated value.
Two years ago, Auctioneers Aguttes sold an allosaurus skeleton dubbed “Kan” for the sum of € 1.1 million euros.
Mickeler noted that herbivore remains generally go for lower prices, because “herbivores do not quite excite businessmen who buy dinosaurs the same way as carnivores do.”
“They want to buy carnivores like themselves,” added the paleontologist.