'Special' T. Rex Skeleton Sold at Auction for $6.2M

'Trinity' is first T. rex ever sold in Europe
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2023 6:57 PM CDT
T. Rex Skeleton Auctioned in Switzerland for Over $6M
Cyril Koller, CEO of auction house Koller, stands next to the head of the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex named Trinity, during an auction in Zurich, Switzerland.   (Michael Buholzer/Keystone via AP)

A 67-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton might have had puny arms, but sold for a hefty $6.2 million at Zurich's Koller auction house. The BBC reports the 38-foot-long and nearly 13-foot-tall fossil "is one of the most spectacular T. rex skeletons in existence," though it's actually not made up of just one T. rex. It's named "293 Trinity" for a reason: The skeleton is comprised of 293 bones hailing from 3 different T. rexes found in Montana and Wyoming. Still, in an interview on Koller's website, Dr. Hans-Jacob Siber of the Aathal Dinosaur Museum said that there are just "20 or 30 good T. rex skeletons in the world and this is one of the bigger and better ones."

Though the dinosaur was purchased by a private buyer, Koller indicated hope that it would be put on public display. Speaking to the BBC, Edinburgh University dinosaur expert Steve Brusatte expressed concern over private purchases—this was the first T. rex skeleton ever auctioned in Europe—saying in part that "museums can't compete with the deep pockets of the oligarchs and the super-rich." Brusatte added that he's worried "that these very rare dinosaur skeletons, which are scientifically very valuable and are important for education and public engagement disappear into the vaults of private collectors which means that they are not available for public display."

The Tyrannosaurus rex, which has one of the most distinctive skulls in the animal kingdom, is among the most iconic dinosaurs in pop culture. As an American Museum of Natural History information page notes, the 1902 discovery of the first T. rex skeleton in Hell Creek, Montana, also sparked long-lasting interest in dinosaurs in general. Trinity, however, isn't the most expensive T. rex ever sold. In 2022 the Guardian reported that honor went to "Stan," a Tyrannosaurus skeleton that sold in 2020 for $31.8 million. (More Tyrannosaurus rex stories.)

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