Auction Date Set for “Battling Dinosaurs”
The auction date has been set for the sale of a remarkable fossil, one that shows a Tyrannosaur fighting with a horned dinosaur, both specimens could make a significant contribution to the study of vertebrate mega fauna of Late Cretaceous Montana. The meat-eater, fossils of which are so beautifully preserved, almost the entire skeleton has remained in situ, could resolve the puzzle as to whether a ferocious, “pocket battleship of a Tyrannosaur” actually existed. These specimens will go under the hammer at Bonhams Auction House (New York), on November 19th. If you are looking for an unusual Christmas present expect to pay somewhere between $7 million and $9 million USD (£4.41 – £5.67 million GBP), experts predict that this auction lot will fetch a world record price for a fossil sale.
Many palaeontologists and academics are concerned that if these extremely rare specimens end up in private hands then the fossils may not be made available for scientific research. The “Montana Duelling Dinosaurs”, a record of dinosaur inter-specific combat preserved for 67 million years may be lost to science. The horned dinosaur is believed to be a type of Chasmosaurine Ceratopsian, belonging to the same group of horned dinosaurs as the famous Triceratops. The Tyrannosaur, estimated at around seven metres in length could be a specimen of a Nanotyrannus (N. lancensis). A skull discovered in 1942 and initially ascribed to the Gorgosaurus genus was later discovered to represent an adult animal not a juvenile. In 1988, in the light of a study suggesting that this relatively diminutive skull did, indeed, represent a fully grown individual, the genus Nanotyrannus was erected. Nanotyrannus means (little tyrant). Whether Nanotyrannus is a separate genus, or whether the fossils ascribed to Nanotyrannus actually represent juvenile specimens of already described Tyrannosaurs has been hotly debated by palaeontologists. The discovery of such a complete fossil Tyrannosaur could resolve this debate.
To read more about the discovery of these fossils: Duelling Dinosaurs Up For Auction
Pete Larson of the Black Hills Institute, (South Dakota), himself a highly respected expert on Tyrannosaurids, has been involved in the preparation work. His PhD supervisor Dr. Phil Manning (Manchester University) has been granted access to the “duelling dinosaurs” and this week he will present his preliminary findings at a British Science Festival to be held in Newcastle.
The Fossil Specimen – “Duelling Dinosaurs”
Dr. Manning commented: