You could own a piece of dinosaur history. According to a new report, a massive 76-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex skull is auctioning on Friday in New York City. The piece could reportedly be worth a whopping $20 million, according to Sotheby’s, the auction house hosting the bidding.
Aptly named Maximus, the 200-pound dinosaur skull features most of the bones on the right and left sides and a jaw with teeth. According to Sotheby’s, the head is one of the most intact dinosaur skulls ever found.
200-pound dinosaur heads to auction for $200 million
Paleontologists first uncovered the behemoth of a skull between 2020 and 2021 on private land in South Dakota. The area’s Hell Creek Formation, a vast stretch of rock spanning across Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, is where researchers found many fossils from the Cretaceous Period fossils. The area is also where researchers unearthed the famed “Sue the T Rex.”
Today, Sue is known as the most complete and best-preserved T-rex skeleton ever found in the archaeological world. Sotheby’s also sold Sue in 1997 for $8.7 million. Today, you visit the specimen at Chicago’s Field Museum.
An additional T. rex fossil, dubbed Stan, sold in 2020 for a whopping $31.8 million. Stan was also retrieved from the Hell Creek area. The formation also has gifted paleontologists with fossils of Triceratops, Edmontosaurus, Ankylosaurus, and other specimens from the Cretaceous Period.
As for Maximus, its skull is nearly seven feet tall and sits on an iron pedestal. The remaining portion of the specimen was sadly destroyed by erosion at the site. Sotheby’s noted that its bones are also believed to be from an adult T. rex. Those lucky enough to own Maximus will get numerous photographs from the field, an inventory of bones and bone fragments, and proper documentation of the fossil’s authenticity, condition, as well as ownership. The auction begins on Friday at 10 a.m. ET.
Paleontologists unearth ‘rare’ ancient marine reptile in Queensland
Meanwhile, in Australia, paleontologists dug up the entire head and body of an ancient reptile with “flippers like a turtle and long neck like a giraffe.” In addition, scientists are now calling this a “rare” discovery.
After the land owner sent images to researchers, a team of paleontologists located the plesiosaur fossil in Queensland. The discovery also marks the first time researchers in Australia have found the conjoined head and body of an elasmosaur, a type of plesiosaur.
According to the Museum of Tropical Queensland senior curator of paleontology Espen Knutsen, he had been trying to locate the fossil for many years.
“They’re pretty hard to come by globally speaking — not just within Queensland,” Dr. Knutsen said. He added, “Very, very rarely you’ll find a body and head together.