0644 GMT December 15, 2019
While the art market is organized around brand-name artists, dinosaur sales are all about celebrity species, with a tyrannosaurus rex skeleton fetching up to $10 million, although the velociraptor is the most prized. The price tag for a triceratops’s skull is $170,000 to $400,000, and a diplodocus is $570,000 to $1.1m. Last year a complete egg of an aepyornis maximus, otherwise known as an elephant bird, sold for $130,000 — roughly five times what it would have gone for a decade earlier, theguardian.com wrote.
Jerry Smith, an expert in the evolution of freshwater fishes in the department of zoology at Michigan University, told the Observer: “When specimens go into a private home or collection, our understanding, interpretation or discovery of new information they contain will never reach the scientific community.”
Last year the US Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) called on the Parisian auction house Aguttes to cancel a sale inside the Eiffel Tower that contained just one lot: A 29-foot-long dinosaur of a yet-to-be identified species. The winning bidder paid $2.3m for the piece.
Executive members of the society drew attention to the claim that the winning bidder could name the species, calling that assertion “misleading because the naming of new species is governed by the rules of the International Code of Nomenclature”.
“The sale of all fossils is inappropriate,” said Catherine Badgley, former president of the SVP, which represents more than 2,200 international paleontologists.
“Many, particularly vertebrate fossils, are rarely common, and it’s certainly not the case for dinosaurs. The commodification is in principle inappropriate because it motivates unscrupulous people.”