No Bones About It: Once Bought for $31.8M, the World’s Most Complete T-Rex Fossil Will Now Be Housed in Abu Dhabi’s New Museum of Natural History - The Scene

It was sold in a Christie’s auction two years ago.

In 2020, the world’s most complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton sold in a Christie’s auction for $31.8 million. Ahead of the auction, the dinosaur fossil was displayed at the Eiffel Tower in Paris and New York’s Rockefeller Center. 

Although it was assumed that the dinosaur is of the large Allosaurus species, its actual identification wouldn’t be identified if not available to researchers.   

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The sale was highly criticized by scientists and the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) urged the auction house to reconsider the sale. 

New home

In a letter, SVP’s president Emily J. Rayfield and vice president Jessica M. Theodor told Christie’s that the sale “should be restricted to bidders from institutions committed to curating specimens for the public good in perpetuity, or those bidding on behalf of such institutions.” 

However, the auction for the fossil named Stan (named after his discoverer Stan Sacrison in 1987), pushed through and was acquired by an undisclosed buyer. But now, the 39-foot-long T-rex has a new home in Abu Dhabi’s museum of natural history opening in 2025. 

“Now that ‘Stan’ has a new home at the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, this 67 million-year-old dinosaur will be in the care of expert scientists, and will continue to contribute to education and research and inspire future explorers,” the museum said in a press release. 

For the community

This is a win for the science community and the public. Steve Brusatte, a professor and personal chair of paleontology and evolution at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences, told CNN that the news alleviates his “biggest fear.” 

At 39-feet-long, “Stan” is the world’s most complete T-rex fossil.

“That Stan would just disappear into the private collection of an oligarch or another obscenely wealthy person, never to see the light of science or the eyes of the public again,” Brusatte said. 

According to the news outlet, over 30,000 hours of labor was spent excavating and restoring the skeleton. When he was alive, Stan would weigh around seven to eight tons, with teeth measuring more than 11 inches.

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