The skeleton of ‘Big John,’ the world’s biggest triceratops, is up for sale at an auction in Paris and could fetch up to 1.5 million euros ($1.8 million).
The 66-million-year-old fossil roamed the lands of modern-day South Dakota and is among the most distinctive of dinosaurs due to the three horns on its head.
Geologist Walter W. Stein Bill unearthed the dinosaur’s first piece of bone in 2014 and carried out its restoration with a team of paleontologists in Trieste, Italy.
The unique specimen has a skeleton that is more than 60-percent complete, including 75 percent for the skull.
This sale comes amid continued enthusiasm for dinosaur skeletons, with prices often reaching records that leave public museums and research centres unable to outbid private buyers.
Once primarily sold to museums, dinosaur remains have increasingly attracted private buyers, though their numbers remain few.
The skull of Big John, named after the owner of the land where more than 200 of the dinosaur’s bones were found, is 2.62 metres in length, nearly a third of his overall bodylength, and two metres wide.
The name triceratops means ‘three-horned face’. In the fossilised remains of his bony frill is a gaping hole, a battle scar inflicted by a smaller rival according to paleontologist Iacopo Briano.
A rare allosaurus skeleton, one of the oldest dinosaurs, was auctioned in Paris in October to an anonymous bidder for over three million euros, twice its estimate.
A few weeks before, a 67-million-year-old T-Rex skeleton was sold in New York for $31.8 million, smashing records for a dinosaur and far surpassing an estimate of $6 to $8 million.
(With inputs from agencies)