The world’s largest Triceratops skeleton, known as “Big John”, was sold at a Paris auction house on Thursday for 6.6 million euros (US$7.7 million) to a private collector.
The mammoth skeleton, estimated to be more than 66 million years old, was found in South Dakota in 2014. Triceratops is known to have three horns on its head.
Big John, named after the owner of the land on which it was found, has been certified by Guinness World Records as the largest documented skeleton of Triceratops. The dinosaur died out in an ancient floodplain on the island continent extending from present-day Alaska to Mexico, allowing the preservation of its skeleton in soil.
The skeleton is 7.15 m tall (23 ft) and stands 2.7 m high (8 ft) at the hips. The skull represents more than a third of its total length, with two large horns over 1.1 m long (3.6 ft).
The hammer was priced at 5.5 million euros at the Drought auction house before commissions and other costs.
“This is a record for Europe,” said auctioneer Alexandre Giquelo.
Big John’s skeleton is over 60 percent complete and its skull is over 75 percent complete, making it unique.
“The overall quality of the Big John really deserved this price,” said Icopo Briano, a paleontology expert. “One for triceratops and one for herbivorous. It’s an incredible record,” he said.
Last year, a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton fetched nearly $32 million at an auction in New York, becoming the most expensive dinosaur skeleton ever sold.
Big John was sold to a private US buyer who requested anonymity.
A representative for the buyer, Juan Rivers, said, “It’s being acquired by an American collector … absolutely thrilled with the idea of being able to bring a piece like this to my personal use.”
“The history behind it and its duration is absolutely impressive. So to be able to be a part of preserving something of this nature…