‘Big John’, largest-ever triceratops, sells for 6.6m euros
The fossilised remains of 'Big John', the largest triceratops dinosaur ever discovered by paleontologists, sold for 6.65 million euros ($7.74 million) at a Paris auction yesterday.
Big John - named after the owner of the land where the dinosaur's bones were found - roamed modern-day South Dakota more than 66 million years ago.
The hammer price at the Drouot auction house, before commission and other costs, was 5.5 million euros. Drouot had estimated the skeleton would fetch between 1.2-1.5 million euros. It sold to an unidentified private US buyer.
"It's a record for Europe," said auctioneer Alexandre Giquello, who described exponential growth in the relatively new market of dinosaur fossils. "We're creating a market."
The first piece of bone from the supersized skeleton - the skull alone is 2.62 meters long and two meters wide - was found in 2014.
By 2015, paleontologists had unearthed 60% of the skeleton, a rare feat, made of over 200 pieces which were painstakingly put together in Italy, to prepare for the Paris auction.
The skull showed a traumatic lesion, which researchers said was likely the work of another triceratops striking it from behind.
The triceratops is among the most distinctive of dinosaurs due to the three horns on its head -- one at the nose and two on the forehead -- that give the dinosaur its Latin name.
Dinosaur sales can be unpredictable, however: in 2020, several specimens offered in Paris did not find takers after minimum prices were not reached.