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Dinosaur gives Paris auction a Jurassic spark

Sotheby's

It’s Paris’s first natural history auction, and the prize exhibit is a 33-foot-long skeleton expected to fetch about 1 million euros. He’s an Allosaurus, the older, smaller cousin to the Tyrannosaurus Rex that roamed North America 150 million years ago.

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The 86-lot sale, taking place Tuesday afternoon, will feature an assortment of other prehistoric fare estilmated to fetch between 3.6 and 4.6 million euros.

The auction also includes a 10-foot-long skeleton of a Plesiosaurus, a 190-million-year-old aquatic reptile whose shape is reminiscent of Scotland’s Loch Ness monster.
 

Sotheby's

Then there is a rare fossil of a Dorygnathus, a flying reptile that resembles a Pterodactyl, that was found in Germany in 1932.

Add to that a complete woolly rhinoceros skeleton from Pleistocene-era Siberia, a European cave bear displayed in a setting of moss and tree trunks and a pair of prehistoric crabs, Harpactocarcinus Punctulatus, that were buried near Vicenza, in Italy, for 45 million years.

Giant skeletons of carnivorous dinosaurs rarely appear on the market, and the Allosaurus has been scientically prepared according to Unesco guidelines by a team of European paleontologists.
 

Sotheby's

In France, the reopening of Paris's Museum of Natural History has spurred a new generation of collectors to seek out all things prehistoric.

Although institutions are a natural market for such huge objects, some collectors in France have the space to put such items in their home. A dinosaur’s value is determined by how many of its original bones are intact, and given the Allosaurus, discovered in Wyoming, in the US, is almost complete, it's sure to draw some stiff competition.

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