Mammoth skeleton sells for half a million euros at French auction | News | DW | 16.12.2017
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Mammoth skeleton sells for half a million euros at French auction

A 10,000-year-old woolly mammoth skeleton has sold for more than €500,000 at auction in the French city of Lyon. The skeleton is reportedly the largest of its kind to be privately owned.

An almost intact skeleton of a woolly mammoth sold at auction on Saturday in the southeastern French city of Lyon for €548,250 ($644,234).

The lucky new owner of the ancient specimen is a French businessman whose company's logo is incidentally — a mammoth.

Read moreShould scientists bring back the woolly mammoth?

A mammoth auction

  • The skeleton stands 3.4 meters (11.2 feet) tall and is 5.3 meters long
  • It was painstakingly assembled in a walking position by the Aguttes auction house
  • The skeleton is composed of 80 percent of the animal's original bones — including its massive tusks
  • Prior to being sold, the skeleton's previous owner was a hunter who preserved the remains at his home
  • The skeleton was originally unearthed in Siberia 10 years ago

Proud new owner

The giant skeleton's new owner was identified as businessman Pierre-Etienne Bindschedler, the CEO of Soprema, a French waterproofing company based in the eastern French city of Strasbourg.

"We are going to display it in the lobby of our firm," Bindschedler told AFP. "I think we have enough room."

Read moreDodo skeleton fetches thousands at auction

History in private hands: The skeleton sold at Saturday's auction is believed to be the largest mammoth skeleton to be privately owned, according to Aguttes. The auction house also noted that it was one of the few prehistoric specimens to have all the necessary authorizations to be legally exported from Russia.

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Watch video 03:29

Mammoths from Russia's Tundra

Selling skeletons: Aguttes noted that auctions for mammoth skeletons are "very rare" and that the first complete mammoth skeleton was purchased at auction in 2006 for €150,000. Last December, Aguttes sold a dinosaur skeleton (an allosaurus named Kan) for a whopping €1,128,000. 

Ancient giants: Woolly mammoths roamed North America and Siberia thousands of years ago. They came under threat from a warming climate and increased hunting, eventually dying off about 3,700 years ago. Their remains are frequently found in Siberia and northern regions of Russia, preserved in the frozen earth.

rs/aw (AFP, dpa)

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