Dinosaur auctioned in Paris′ Eiffel Tower on eve of Jurassic Park release | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 04.06.2018
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Dinosaur auctioned in Paris' Eiffel Tower on eve of Jurassic Park release

A 150-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton was auctioned on Monday at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The nearly 9-meter-long flesh-eater was mounted on the tower's first floor and sold for €2 million.

The unprecedented sale of the prehistoric remains was made by French auctioneer Aguttes. The winning €2 million ($2.34 million) bid, made by a French buyer, exceeded the auctioneer's expectations of between €1.2 and €1.8 million ($1.4 to $2.1 million).

According to Aguttes, the buyer wants the fossil to "go on display in a French museum."

The fossilized remains of the flesh-eating theropod were dug out of the Morrison Formation, a rich source of dinosaur fossils in the US state of Wyoming, between 2013 and 2015.

At almost 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) in height, the skeleton features 70 percent of the original bones and two virtually flawless rows of teeth. It appears to be a smaller version of the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

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Why were dinosaurs so big?

The skeleton apparently belongs to a previously unknown genus of theropod, according to Eric Mickeler, Aguttes' valuation expert for the sale. This means the buyer may determine the name of the dinosaur.  

The creature would have been "a ferocious carnivore," Mickeler told German press agency dpa, adding that the prehistoric creature had a long and storied life.

"This one is unusual in that it lived for a long time, that is, we can tell from its bones that it died at an old age," he said. "It had accidents along the way, it had fractures that healed... but it didn't die from them."

A dinosaur head on display (Getty Images/S. De Sakutin)

The carnivorous dinosaur on display at the first floor of the Eiffel Tower

The Jurassic lives on 

The skeleton dates back to the late Jurassic period around 155 million years ago, which is opportune as the latest in the long-running Hollywood Jurassic Park franchise is being released in the US and Europe in June.  

In December, Aguttes sold what it said was the largest mammoth skeleton in private hands, for €548,250. It was bought by the head of a waterproofing materials firm that has a mammoth as its logo.

And in April, French auction house Druout sold a Allosaurus and a Diplodocus skeleton at a "Natural History" auction in Paris that each attracted the "exceptional" price of more than €1.4 million.

Dinosaur skeleton auctions are nothing new. Back in 1997, the world's most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex — named Sue — was sold for $8.36 million, with McDonald's and Walt Disney pitching in.

sb/eg/rls (dpa, AP, Reuters, AFP)

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