Tyrannosaurus rex “Samson” goes on Temporary Display

The mounted T. rex skeleton known as “Samson” is about to go on temporary display at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland (Oregon) starting from December 17th.  This forty feet long, reconstructed exhibit was put up for sale at a Las Vegas auction in early October by the private owner who had purchased the fossils not long after they were first excavated.  At the time of the auction, Samson, as this T. rex is known failed to reach its reserve price and remained unsold.  However, the auctioneers, Bonhams and Butterfields were able to negotiate a sale with an undisclosed buyer.

At the auction which we reported upon earlier, the mounted and virtually completely restored fossil skeleton failed to reach its reserve sale price. The bidding stalled at $3.6 milllion USD, so at the time this T. rex skeleton remained unsold.

To read about the auction of Samson: Samson fails to bring the house down at auction

Last month, we had reported on the negotiations that had taken place between Bonhams and Butterfields and a private buyer, who had promised to put this rare specimen on display if the purchase was successful.

To read more about the T. rex specimen called Samson: Samson to go on display in museums

Bonhams and Butterfields have refused to identify the new owner of this particular dinosaur exhibit, but co-director of the natural history auctions, Thomas Lindgren did state that the agreed sale price was “somewhere in the $5 million USD area”.

This sum is not the highest price paid for a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, on October 27th 1997 “Sue” specimen number  SUE-BHI2033 was sold at Sothebys for $8.36 million USD.

The Tyrannosaurus rex Exhibit Known as “Samson”

Picture Credit: Bonhams and Butterfields

The Portland museum was able to arrange the Samson exhibit with the help of the unidentified buyer, who had promised to put the mounted T. rex on display to the public, with the assistance of a number of sponsors.

This particular Tyrannosaurus is considered to be one of the most complete fossilised Tyrannosaur skeletons found to date.  The specimen consists of 170 bones almost 56% of the skeleton has been recovered.  Although this specimen has been given a masculine name, it has been suggested that this fossil actually represents a female.  Female Tyrannosaurs were believed to have been larger and more robust than the males, a wider pelvic area being required to permit the passage of eggs.  Difference in size between the males and females of a species is a common trait of birds especially the raptors.

Samson is of special significance as much of the skull material was excavated and it is in a good state of preservation.  The subtle differences between this skull and the skulls of other Tyrannosaurs may indicate that this specimen represents a sub-species of T. rex.

The skull also shows evidence of pathology, a number of head injuries and signs of disease.

The Reconstructed and Mounted Skull of “Samson”

Samson skull material (T. rex)

Picture Credit: Bonhams and Butterfields

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