The dinosaur, known as ‘Barry’, was dug out of the ground in Wyoming in the 1990s and assembled by palaeontologist Barry James in the year 2000. Being the guy to put this ancient puzzle back together, it was only fair they named the thing after him.
Last year, a laboratory in Italy, Zoic, further restored the fossilised skeleton which hails from the late Jurrasic period. Now that Barry has had a tune-up, they’re looking to shift him.
Barry stands at 2.10 metres tall and is 5 metres long. He’s an “extremely well-preserved specimen, which is quite rare,” according to Alexandre Giquello, from the Hotel Drouot auction house who are conducting the sale.
“To take the example of its skull, the skull is complete at 90% and the rest of the dinosaur (skeleton) is complete at 80%,” Giquello said.
Dinosaur sales on the private market are actually not as unusual as you might think — and are highly controversial. Scrolling through the past auctions of Sotheby’s will bring up Triceratops skulls, Megalodon teeth, and other fossilised dinosaur parts.
Typically, there are a handful of these items sold each year in auction houses around the world and they usually go to celebrities, business owners, and other extravagant rich people. Both of the actors Nicholas Cage and Leonardo Di Caprio have bid on dinosaurs.
In July, Sotheby’s sold a Pteranodon skeleton for US$3.9 million while, in April, a Tyrannosaurus skeleton called Trinity was sold for US$6.1 million. In 2022, Christie’s cancelled an auction of a USD$20 million T-Rex after it was claimed that the dinosaur on sale was built from non-T-Rex bones.
However, scientists are usually outraged over the sale of what they see as precious relics of natural history. University of Edinburgh palaeontologist Steve Brusatte has said that these auctions turn scientific specimens into “little more than toys for the rich.”
Others argue that commercial dinosaur hunters should be celebrated for finding and preserving specimens and that science and capitalism have always had a murky relationship.
Barry will be shown to the public in mid-October before the auction and is expected to sell for around 1.2 million euros or $1.99 million.