The skull of a 76-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex, which is one of the most complete ever found, is being called “the ultimate trophy” because it will be sold at auction next month for an estimated $20 million.
Sotheby’s New York, which made headlines in July for selling the first-ever Gorgosaurus skeleton, is holding a live auction where the more than six-foot-tall fossilized skull will make its debut and be sold to the highest bidder.
The skull, which has been given the name Maximus, was found in South Dakota, where other famous T-rex skeletons like Sue and Stan have also been found. The head of science at Sotheby’s calls this area “the world capital for T-rexes.”
The rest of the dinosaur’s bones have been lost to time, but the teeth-bearing jaw bones and most of the bones on the outside of the skull are still there.
The ultimate trophy’:
Henry Galiano, a natural history consultant for Sotheby’s, said in a statement, “This T-rex fossil is a very exciting find.”
“The skull was found in one of the places with the most T-rex bones.” “It still had a lot of its original shape and surface features, and even the smallest and most delicate bones were still there, giving it a very high level of scientific integrity.”
“If it weren’t for the careful work of experienced field paleontologists who found and kept this skull, it might have been lost to science for good.”
The name Maximus comes from Magnus Maximus, a Roman emperor and military leader. It was chosen to honor his reputation as a fighter and hunter.
The skull was found and dug up on private land in the Hell Creek Formation in Harding County, South Dakota.
This geological formation is famous all over the world because it has more T-rex bones than anywhere else. Sue, the first dinosaur ever sold at auction, sold for a record $8.3 million at Sotheby’s in 1997, and Stan, another dinosaur, sold for $31.8 million in 2020.
A lot of well-known dinosaurs from the Cretaceous period, such as Triceratops, Edmontosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, and many others, have also been found at this site.
The dig site where the T. rex skull was found had been through a lot over time, and erosion had destroyed most of the skeleton. It was just a lucky break that the skull was still in one piece.
Along with the skull is a full set of paperwork that proves its condition, authenticity, and legal ownership. This includes an osteograph, bone inventory, field photos, and preparation notes, which show that the exemplar specimen is truly unique.
Sotheby’s head of science and popular culture, Cassandra Hatton, said that the two large holes in the animal’s skull showed that it had been in a fight, likely with another T-rex.
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