Biggest Triceratops Fossil Being Auctioned Off In Paris


Photo courtesy of Giquello

      The fossilized remains of one of the largest and most complete triceratops ever found goes to auction today in France.

The 66-million-year-old skeleton found in South Dakota and dubbed “Big John” is expected to fetch more than 1.7 million dollars.

      Paleontologists unearthed the first piece of bone in 2014 in Meade County and it took more than a year to remove the last.

The skeleton was reassembled in an Italian lab that specializes in restoring fossils. 

      Big John is over 60% complete with a 75% complete skull. His skull and bony collar measure 8-feet 7-inches long and 6-feet 7-inches wide and weigh over 1,500 pounds. His 2 large horns are each more than 3-feet long. 

     The triceratops lived in Laramidia, an island continent that stretched from what is now Alaska to Mexico and died on an ancient flood plain that is today the Hell Creek formation. A laceration on the collar suggests he was injured in combat. 

        Walter Stein is one of the paleontologists responsible for finding Big John. He says what is now South Dakota has been home over millions of years to many amazing ancient creatures.

        He points to mammal fossils found at Badlands National Park, the mammoths in Hot Springs, and a wide range of dinosaurs that include the giant plesiosaur and Tyrannosaurus Rex. The most-complete T-Rex ever found, Sue, is from the state.

       Big John has been on display in Paris at French auction house Giquello for the past month. Giquello is holding the sale, part of its “Naturalia” auction, at the Hotel Drouot Auction House, which is also in Paris.