Gorgosaurus skeleton fetches more than $6m at auction

Sotheby's says this is the first time a dinosaur skeleton has been auctioned since 1997

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A Gorgosaurus skeleton sold for $6,069,500 at a New York City auction on Thursday, Sotheby's said.

The auction house says the specimen, which is three metres long, is “one of the most valuable dinosaurs to ever appear on the market”.

As an added bonus, the auction winner will also be able to select a name for the dinosaur skeleton.

Gorgosaurus roamed the earth about 76 million years ago.

“In my career, I have had the privilege of handling and selling many exceptional and unique objects, but few have the capacity to inspire wonder and capture imaginations quite like this unbelievable Gorgosaurus skeleton,” said Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s global head of science and popular culture.

A typical adult Gorgosaurus weighed about two tonnes, slightly smaller than its more famous relative, Tyrannosaurus rex.

Palaeontologists say it was fiercer and faster than the T-Rex, with a stronger bite of about 42,000 newtons compared to 35,000.

The skeleton was discovered in the Judith River Formation near Havre, Montana, in 2018.

The sale marked the first time that Sotheby's has auctioned a full dinosaur skeleton since it sold Sue the T-Rex in 1997 for $8.36m.

Gorgosaurus skeleton fetches more than $6m at auction

Gorgosaurus skeleton fetches more than $6m at auction

All other known Gorgosaurus skeletons are in museum collections, making this the only specimen available for private ownership, the auction house said.

“This is the only one that you can actually buy so it's an exciting moment, both for private collectors and institutions,” Ms Hatton said.

Unlike other countries, the US does not restrict the sale or export of fossils, meaning the skeleton could end up overseas.

News agencies contributed to this report

Updated: June 21, 2023, 7:43 AM