The fossil remains of Big John, the largest triceratops dinosaur ever found, were sold at an auction in the French capital.
The skeleton reached a record European price of 6.65 million euros (7.74 million dollars; 5.6 million pounds).
About 66 million years ago, Big John roamed modern South Dakota in the United States, where the dinosaur’s bones were unearthed in 2014.
With its huge collared skull and three horns, the herbivorous triceratops was a giant of the Cretaceous period.
A private and anonymous collector from the United States bought Big John’s skeleton, which was on public display at the Drouot auction house in Paris last week.
The collector was “absolutely thrilled with the idea of being able to bring a piece like this for his own use,” said Djuan Rivers, a representative of the buyer.
The paleontologists who discovered Big John managed to unearth 60% of the dinosaur’s skeleton.
Its 200 pieces, including the 2-meter-wide dinosaur skull, were carefully assembled by specialists in Trieste, Italy. Those bones form a skeleton 8m long by 3m high.
There are signs of damage on the skull where researchers believe the dinosaur may have been hit by another in a battle.
Big John died in an ancient floodplain and was buried in mud, which has preserved the dinosaur’s bones for millions of years.
“It’s a masterpiece,” Iacopo Briano, a paleontologist involved in the reconstruction of Big John, told France Inter last month. “There are several triceratops skulls around the world, but very few of them are nearly complete.”
Auction experts say demand for rare dinosaur fossils has inflated prices at the expense of museums, which often can’t afford to buy them.
Auctioneer Alexandre Giquello said Big John’s selling price was another sign that wealthy private collectors were “creating a new market” for dinosaur fossils.
Last year, a near-complete specimen of Tyrannosaurus rex was auctioned for a world record price of $ 31.8 million.
But dinosaur sales have proved unpredictable in the past. In 2008, a triceratops skeleton failed to find a buyer when a final bid of $ 780,000 fell short of the reserve price.
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