THE skeleton of a terrifying dinosaur featured in Jurassic Park was sold at auction for a staggering £10million.
Fearsome Deinonychus, which had giant claws on each foot, was the template for the famous Velociraptor in Steven Spielberg’s hit movie.
Deinonychus was an agile, intelligent, pack-hunting predator[/caption]
The remains were sold at Christie’s auction house on Thursday night to an anonymous buyer for more than double the predicted price.
Nicknamed Hector, the creature’s 110million-year-old bones were found by an amateur fossil-hunter in Montana, USA.
The specimen contains 126 real bones, meaning most of the skeleton – including most of its skull – is a man-made reconstruction.
The skeleton is far from complete but has been augmented with man-made parts[/caption]
Palaeontologist Prof Steve Brusatte, author of best-selling book The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, described the selling price as “deranged” – and said he hopes the skeleton does not “disappear into the basement of an oligarch”.
He said: “I was stunned that this skeleton sold for over £10million. It shows there is a market for anything as long as somebody is willing to pay for it.
“No doubt this is an important fossil. Deinonychus is one of the closest dinosaur relatives to birds and a critical species in understanding how birds evolved.
Top palaeontologist Prof Steve Brusatte is “very worried” about the sale[/caption]
“This seems to be one of the best Deinonychus fossils ever found, although only a fraction of the bones are present. A lot of what was put up for auction was reconstructed – the bones are reproductions.
“Regardless, this fossil belongs in a museum. I don’t know who bought it, but I’m pretty confident that few, if any, legitimate museums could afford to pay £10million for one incomplete dinosaur skeleton.
“It would be a huge shame for science, and the public, if this disappeared into the basement of an oligarch. I fear we are in the midst of a brave new world as palaeontologists and educators.
Deinonychus had terrifying claws on its hind limbs[/caption]
“Deranged prices like these for dinosaur skeletons, even incomplete ones like this, will all but eliminate museums, research, and education.
“It’s totally unsustainable for our field. If dinosaurs are simply another commodity for the wealthiest to obtain and trade and own, then where does that leave science? The whole situation is very worrying.”
The 6ft tall “Velociraptors” featured in 1993’s Jurassic Park are actually based on Deinonychus – much larger than a true Velociraptor, which was about the size of a turkey.
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