Dinosaur Fossil Auction Draws Controversy

A dinosaur fossil auction is drawing controversy. The rare fossils of two fighting dinosaurs are expected to make millions. However, scientists argue that the fossils belong in a museum.

The Montana Dueling Dinosaurs fossils were found on private property. Commercial prospectors made the unusual find in 2006. Legally, the fossils are the property of the landowner.

As reported by The Verge, Peter Larson of the Black Hills Institute, has identified the fossils as two separate species. The dinosaurs have been identified as a
Nanotyrannus lancensis and a Chasmosaurine ceratopsian.

The dinosaurs appear to have been fighting when they died.Two teeth from the Nanotyrannus were embedded in the Chasmosaurine, providing further evidence of a fatal brawl.

The fossils are incredibly preserved, and nearly complete. Larson noted skin fragments and “possible proteins” among the fossils.

The sellers will hold the dinosaur fossil auction in November. Bonhams will oversee auction, which is expected to make millions.

As reported by the New York Times, scientists are disappointed with the decision. Thomas Carr of the Dinosaur Discovery Museum states that “this lines their pockets, but it hurts science.”

The sellers have reportedly offered the fossils to several museums. However, they were asking close to $15 million. The Smithsonian, American Museum of Natural History, and the Field Museum, all turned down the offer.

Scientists hope that a museum will ultimately win the auction. If not, they hope a private buyer would allow access to fossils for research.

Auction Fossils

The Nanotyrannus lancensis is only the third specimen known to exist. The Chasmosaurine ceratopsian is the most complete skeleton on record. The relationship between the two fossils may provide some crucial clues about dinosaur interaction and behavior.

As the dinosaur fossil auction nears, further study of the specimen may be reserved for the highest bidder.

[Image via 359.bg and Wikimedia]