A T. rex skeleton named 'Trinity' may attract millions at an auction in Zurich
BERN, Switzerland — Interested investors may have to dig deep into their pockets to claim a giant Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton going up for auction on Tuesday — a first in Europe — that's been dug up from three sites in the United States and could make the ultimate ornament for a tycoon's abode or other eye-popping display.
The 293 T. rex bones, assembled and erected into a growling 11.6-meter-long (38-foot-long) and 3.9-meter-high (12.8-foot-high) posture, are expected to fetch 5 million to 8 million Swiss francs ($5.6-$8.9 million) when it goes under the hammer at a Zurich auction house.
Promoters say the composite T. rex — dubbed "Trinity" and drawn from three sites in the Hell Creek and Lance Creek formations of Montana and Wyoming — was built from specimens retrieved between 2008 and 2013.
More than half of the restored fossil is "original bone material," and Koller auction house says the skull is particularly rare and was remarkably well-preserved.
"When dinosaurs died in the Jurassic or Cretaceous periods, they often lost their heads during deposition. In fact, most dinosaurs are found without their skulls," Nils Knoetschke, a scientific adviser who was quoted in the auction catalogue. "But here we have truly original Tyrannosaurus skull bones that all originate from the same specimen."
T. rex roamed the Earth between 65 and 67 million years ago, and Hollywood movies — perhaps epitomized by the blockbuster "Jurassic Park" franchise — have added to the public fascination with the carnivorous creature.
The same areas were the source of two other dinosaurs skeletons that also went on the block, says Koller: "Sue" sold for $8.4 million over a quarter-century ago, and "Stan" fetched nearly $32 million three years ago.
Tuesday's sale, part of a wider auction of artifacts, marks only the third time such a T. rex skeleton has gone up for auction, Koller says.
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