Who bid on a dinosaur skeleton this week? Koller auction house reveals the secret.
Zurich (AFP) – A dinosaur skeleton went up for auction in Zurich this week on its way to Antwerp, Belgium. Koller auction house revealed the mystery of the initially unknown buyer on Friday. It is the non-profit art foundation Phoebus, which wants to publicly display the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex).
Because its cultural center will be completed in just a few years, foundation director Katharina van Cotteren said, she is checking whether the skeleton will be loaned to a museum at the moment. Scientists should also have access.
A private owner put the rare T. rex “Trinity” skeleton up for auction on Tuesday. The foundation paid 5.5 million Swiss francs (5.6 million euros) for this. This includes the auction house commission. The skeleton measures 1.6 by 3.9 meters and consists of the bones of three different animals that were excavated in the US states of Montana and Wyoming between 2008 and 2013. 50% of the bones are genuine. T. rex lived in what is now the United States more than 65 million years ago.
Concerns about fossil auctions
Trinity is said to be the third T. rex skeleton ever to be auctioned. It was shown in Zurich in the last few weeks. It was viewed by 35,000 visitors in three weeks. When it comes to auctioning off fossils, there is always a fear among scientists that important material is hidden behind closed doors. The Phoebus Foundation can now allay these fears with its announcement. “This is the best possible outcome we could have hoped for,” said the auction house’s president, Cyril Kohler.
In 2021, the foundation buys the Boerentoren skyscraper in Antwerp, which is about 100 meters high. It dates back to the 1930’s. It will open as a cultural center in a few years after the renovation. “We are extremely proud that this remarkable specimen will be part of an important project for the Phoebus Foundation,” said Van Cauteren.
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