Many people dream about owning their very own piece of history, but what about owning your own dinosaur?
That dream came true for one anonymous buyer who purchased a rare, ancient Gorgosaurus skeleton for just over US$6 million (about C$7.6 million) on Thursday.
The sale occurred at a New York-based event hosted by Sotheby’s as part of the firm’s natural history auction.
The complete Gorgosaurus fossil was bound to attract ample interest, as the former apex predator is a distant relative of the better-known Tyrannosaurus rex.
The unknown buyer will even have the opportunity to name their privately owned dinosaur (though clever nicknames like “Gorgeous George” have already been pitched by followers of Sotheby’s social media accounts).
Discovered on private land in Montana in 2018, the Gorgosaurus fossil is believed to be about 77 million years old.
The specimen contains 79 bone elements, stands three metres tall and is almost seven metres in length.
There are only 20 known fossils like it in the world, though this is the only one to be offered for private ownership, the BBC reported.
The Gorgosaurus resembled the T-rex in many ways, including its massive head, powerful teeth and small front limbs equipped with two fingers.
The dinosaur was smaller than a T-rex but was reportedly faster and more powerful. In its lot details for the Gorgosaurus, Sotheby’s wrote the dinosaur’s sharp teeth were ideal for “cutting into thick skin and penetrating deep into the flesh of their prey.”
Several other items were included in the natural history auction, including a complete rooted T-rex tooth (which sold for $100,800) and a Triceratops skull (which was auctioned for $661,500).
The Gorgosaurus skeleton is the second fossilized dinosaur skeleton to ever be sold by Sotheby’s. The first was a complete T-rex, nicknamed “Sue,” which was sold to Chicago’s Field Museum for $8.36 million in 1997, CNBC reported.
The most expensive dinosaur fossil ever sold was “Stan,” also a T-rex, purchased at an auction for $31.85 million in 2020. The skeleton was claimed by a private, unnamed buyer.