Fossilised skeletons of two prehistoric predators are set to go on auction at Sotheby's in New York later this month, including a long-necked hunter thought to have helped fuel the legend of the Loch Ness monster.
The two ancient creatures up for auction ruled their respective territories in the sky and in the sea.
The Pteranodon, one of the largest animals to have ever existed, is leading the Sotheby's Natural History auction on July 26, with an estimated price tag of $4 million to $6 million.
Creatures from Godzilla to Jurassic Park have been inspired by the famed predator.
Joining the Pterandon is a fossilised skeleton of a Plesiosaur, whose graceful curved neck is believed to have inspired the famous fake photo of the Loch Ness monster, also known as Nessie, in 1934.
“Both of these species have long played an important role in our collective imaginations, from inspiring ancient folklore and myths to appearing in Hollywood blockbusters and television shows,” said Cassandra Hatton, head of science and popular culture at Sotheby's.
“They are each instantly recognisable and are remarkable witnesses to the incredible evolutionary power that has shaped life on earth for aeons.”
Both skeletons can be viewed at Sotheby's New York from July 20 before the live auction a week later.
Named “Horus” after the ancient Egyptian deity, the Pteranodon fossil is one of the highest quality ever discovered and has a wingspan of 6 metres, Sotheby's said.
The Pteranodon belonged to the Pterosaur family which ruled the skies during the Mesozoic Era. The creatures were known for their huge size and powerful wings, and would mostly feed hundreds of kilometres from the shoreline.
Also appearing at the auction will be the Plesiosaur skeleton, which is expected to sell for between $600,000 – $800,000.
These prehistoric predators roamed the open seas from the Triassic Period until they became extinct during the Cretacious Period, about 65 million years ago.
The underwater creatures were known for their small heads, large flippers and elongated necks.