Christie’s representatives have just confirmed that a $25 million T. rex specimen will not be among the lots exhibited in Hong Kong on November 30. Instead, the owner decided to loan it to a museum.
Meanwhile, as reported by the New York Times, a fossil organization suspected that parts of the skeleton of the T.rex nicknamed Shen, resemble casts from the skeleton of another famous dinosaur named Stan.
Intellectual property rights to Stan belong to the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, which can legally sell casts of its tyrannosaurus at a price of $120,000 apiece.
According to Peter Larson, the president of the institute, when he saw photos of Shen's skeleton, he was struck by its similarity to Stan.
In particular, Larson argues that Shen's jaw has the holes just like Stan's. According to the scientist, the owner of Shen, whose name is not disclosed, could have purchased a replica of Stan and partially supplemented it with elements of the skeleton.
"They’re using Stan to sell a dinosaur that’s not Stan. It’s very misleading," Mr. Larson said, noting that the auction house did the right thing by withdrawing the skeleton, which raises many questions, from the auction.
According to the newspaper, Larson's lawyer contacted Christie's and noted that they did not specify that parts of the skeleton of Shen were casts from Stan.
After that, the description of the skeleton on the auction website stated that the copies of bones added to the original bones to complete the skeleton of Shen were made by the Black Hills Institute and purchased from it. In addition, Christie's confirmed that none of Shen's teeth were original.
However, this description was later removed from the auction website.
"There is no known skeleton of a T. rex that would consist entirely of original bones. But we believe that the original elements of Shen are genuine," Christie's representative noted.
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Shen specimen weighing 1.4 tons, 15ft high and 30ft long was found in Montana. It was a male T. rex who lived about 67 million years ago.
The skeleton was expected to be auctioned off for between $15 million and $25 million. For example, Stan was sold at the same Christie's auction in 2020 for $31.8 million.
Dinosaur bones, not to mention more or less complete skeletons, are very popular among collectors and can cost many millions of dollars. However, experts say that valuable specimens often end up in private collections before researchers can study them.
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