Anyone Need a Nearly Complete Dino Skeleton?

Camptosaurus fossil, 'Barry,' could fetch up to $1.2M at auction next month
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2023 9:11 AM CDT
Anyone Need a Nearly Complete Dino Skeleton?
The skeleton of a 150-million-year-old camptosaurus dubbed Barry.   (Hotel Drouot)

One of the most complete dinosaur skulls ever documented will hit the auction block next month along with the rest of the 150-million-year-old Camptosaurus' bones. Such sales of dinosaur fossils are "rare, with only a small number taking place each year globally" as scientists raise concerns about fossils being whisked into private collections and away from the public and researchers, per the BBC. Experts say this Camptosaurus skeleton—named Barry after the paleontologist Barry James, who unearthed it in Wyoming in the 1990s—is nearly complete and "extremely well preserved," per the outlet.

At 7 feet tall and 16 feet long, it's "one of the most complete dinosaurs ever auctioned," says Alexandre Giquello, president of Paris auction house Hotel Drouot, which will sell the specimen on Oct. 20, per Barron's. "The skull is complete at 90% and the rest of the dinosaur is complete at 80%," he adds, per the BBC. It's expected to fetch up to $1.2 million in the controversial sale. As the Economist reported earlier this year, a major uptick in demand for dinosaur specimens from private collectors since fossils began selling for millions at auction in 2018 has caused concern that public institutions will lose access to valuable finds.

But if Barry is purchased by a private collector, there may not be much change. As Barron's reports, the fossil was held in a private collection in Colorado since soon after its discovery in Wyoming's Morrison Formation. It was purchased last year by experts from the Italian company Zoic, who partnered with scientists from the University of Bologna on a vast reconstruction project. "Zoic undertook the meticulous task of disassembling, cleaning, and cataloging the specimen's original bones in order to carry out a complete reconstruction of the specimen according to current scientific standards," according to the auction house. (More dinosaurs stories.)

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