The fossilized remains of the largest triceratops dinosaur ever found were sold Thursday at a Paris auction to a private, anonymous U-S collector for a whopping $7.74-million dollars.
The French auction house Giquello had expected the 66-million year old fossil, dubbed “Big John” after the owner of the South Dakota ranch where it was found, to bring less than $1.8-million.
Djuan Rivers, representing the buyer, told Reuters the collector “is absolutely thrilled with the idea of being able to bring a piece like this to his personal use.”
Rivers said Big John “is absolutely impressive, so being able to be a part of preserving something of this nature that was actually found in the U-S, in South Dakota, is also something extremely special.”
The $7.7-million dollar price is a record in the relatively new European dinosaur fossil market, but well below prices in the U-S. Christie’s auction house sold a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in New York last year for $31.8-million.
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.
He 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 with another triceratops.