The skeleton of the dinosaur, which is 70% intact, is 30 feet long and 9 feet high. Paleontologists say it’s closest in appearance to a dinosaur known as an Allosaurus but possibly an entirely different species. French auction house Aguttes went ahead with the auction despite a letter from the Society of Veterbrate Paleontology asking that it be canceled. The sale itself was legal because the dinosaur was dug up on private land in Wyoming in 2013 and the United States deems that fossils found on private land belong to the landowner, who can then legally take it out of the country.
Usually, museums and research institutions spend about $10,000 for big excavations, which covers the cost for scientists to travel to the field and dig up fossils, as well as properly excavate and prepare them, David Polly, the president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and a professor of sedimentary geology at Indiana University said revealing that’s more than 200 times less than what the auction buyer paid for the Wyoming dinosaur. Paleontologists typically don’t study specimens from private collections. If the specimen’s owner puts the fossil on display, but then returns it to a private collection, it won’t be available for later scientific study for that verification.