40-million-year-old crocodile fossil to be snapped up at auction

Skeleton stretching almost a metre long unearthed in China but part of a Scottish geologist's collection

The fossilised crocodile specimen is estimated to be 40 million years old. Photo: McTear’s
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A rare crocodile fossil with a 92cm-long skeleton is set to go under the hammer.

The specimen, estimated to be 40 million years old, will be part of a private collection of natural history items to be auctioned in Scotland next week.

The collection of almost 200 pieces was assembled over a lifetime of collecting by a retired geologist in the Highlands, who does not wish to be named. It is estimated to fetch tens of thousands of pounds.

The fossilised crocodilian (Plalaysuchus Petroleum) was unearthed in China, the auction house said.

Being in “immaculate condition” in its stone tomb, the Eocene period specimen is estimated to fetch between £10,000 and £15,000 ($12,247 and $18,370).

Other lots include a nest of fossilised Hardrosaur eggs — duck-billed herbivorous dinosaurs from the late Cretaceous Period — which could fetch £7,000, and a Gibeon iron meteorite that fell to earth in Namibia.

A nest of fossilised Hardrosaur eggs. Photo: McTear’s

The 25cm-long rock weighs 7kg and is predicted to go for a sum between £4,000 to £6,000.

Items in the auction with a lower price tag include a five-million-year-old fossilised tooth from a Megalodon shark — a much larger ancestor of the Great White — which has an estimate of £100 to £200, plus a number of other fossil and mineral lots on offer for a few hundred pounds, specialists said.

James Spiridion of McTear’s said: “This is a marvellous collection that has been painstakingly assembled over many decades.

“The varied nature of the items is remarkable, with fossilised plants and animals sitting alongside rare minerals, rocks and even a meteorite.

A Gibeon iron meteorite. Photo: McTear’s

“The fossilised crocodilian is in immaculate condition with a near perfect skeleton on show.

“It is worth noting that a similar, albeit larger, example recently sold at auction for $250,000, illustrating quite clearly how important these fascinating items are.”

'A Cabinet of Curiosities: Including an Important Natural History Collection' will take place at McTear’s in Glasgow on August 10. The full catalogue can be found at www.mctears.co.uk.

Updated: August 01, 2022, 1:13 PM