The largest skeleton of Triceratops before the auction was exhibited in Paris

The largest skeleton of Triceratops before the auction was exhibited in Paris
The largest skeleton of Triceratops before the auction was exhibited in Paris
2 September 2021, 13:21SciencePhoto: Giquello / The Guardian
Connoisseurs call the 8-meter Big John "a miracle of nature" and "a work of art". Alas, most likely, it will go to a private collector and will be lost to humanity.

66 million years ago, Triceratops was one of the most terrifying dinosaurs ever. A large bone collar, three horns on the muzzle, a rhino-like physique could terrify anyone, even though Triceratops were herbivorous. Now anyone who is in Paris from mid-September to mid-October can see the perfectly preserved remains of Triceratops. Auction house Druot is exhibiting ahead of the auction for Big John, the name of a dinosaur skeleton found in South Dakota in 2014, according to The Guardian.

The animal that owned the skeleton lived in Laramidia, an island continent that stretches from what is now Alaska to Mexico, and died in what is now known as the Hell Creek Geological Formation. A lacerated wound on the collar suggests that Big John was wounded in a fight with another Triceratops - probably defending territory or his partner.

Due to the peculiarities of the local deposits, which do not differ in biological activity, after the death of Big John, it turned into a well-preserved fossil. Archaeologists have collected its scattered remains: a bone collar 2.62 meters long, 2 meters wide and weighing more than 700 kg, two large horns over a meter in size and two hundred other bones. And experts in the restoration of prehistoric skeletons from the Italian workshop Zoic put them into a skeleton 8 meters long.

A lot of Triceratops skulls have survived to this day, but Big John's skeleton is unique in its degree of preservation: the skull was preserved by 75%, the skeleton as a whole - by 60%. However, there are no more than a dozen people in the world who have the desire and ability to acquire a fossil. As a rule, these are quite young people from the world of high technologies, passionate about paleontology thanks to the Jurassic Park seen in childhood.

Interest in dinosaur skeletons remains high and affects prices - to the disappointment of museum and research center staff, who are often unable to raise funds for such expensive purchases. In October last year, a rare skeleton of Allosaurus, one of the oldest dinosaurs believed to be the "grandfather" of the Tyrannosaurus, was sold in Paris to an anonymous buyer for more than 3 million euros - the final price was twice the initial price.

Big John can bring in up to € 1.5 million. The auction will take place at the Parisian auction house Druot on October 21st as part of the Naturalia annual sale. And from September 16 to October 15, anyone can see the Triceratops at the 13 rue des Archives in Marais.

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