(Image: Black Hills Institute of Geological Research Inc and Katie Busch/CK Preparations)
Two Late Cretaceous dinosaurs—a tryannosaurid and a triceratops relative—that died while locked in mortal combat were fossilized together in the same piece of Badlands rock. And recently they were put up for auction to private collectors by Bonham’s Auction House. Dubbed perhaps the most complete skeletons ever found in North America, the two fossils were expected to sell for between 7 and 9 million dollars—but the bids topped out at $5.5 million.
That turns out to be great news because rather than going into private hands and perhaps never being seen again, the fossils will now be offered for sale to “scientific homes.”
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Cage outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for the 67-million-year-old T. Bataar skull at auction in 2007. But it now seems the biggest prehistoric skull ever found was provided by Eric Prokopi—a real life Time Eater.
Prokopi is currently facing 17 years in jail for stealing fossils from the rich beds of China and Mongolia, and selling them to private collectors—removing them from the light of science forever.
It doesn’t seem Cage or DiCaprio knew where the skull came from at the time—but the practice of collecting these great finds is in itself preventing paleontologists from properly examining finds and hurting our understanding of the great beasts.
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