NATURAL HISTORY

'Big John', the largest triceratops ever found to go under the hammer in Paris

Big John, the largest known triceratops skeleton, is assembled in a showroom in Paris on Tuesday, August 31, 2021.
Big John, the largest known triceratops skeleton, is assembled in a showroom in Paris on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. AP - Lewis Joly

The largest triceratops dinosaur ever discovered is to be put up for action in Paris, with hopes the spectacular skeleton could fetch 1.5 million euros.

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Dubbed “Big John”, the fossilised remains were unearthed by paleontologists in 2014. Sixty percent of the eight-metre-long skeleton has been recovered, including most of the dinosaur’s skull.

Big John, who 66 million years ago wandered the lands of the US state now know as South Dakota, will be sold by the Drouot Paris auction house in late October.

The two-metre-wide skull, 200 bones and large horns will go on display from 18 October.

One of the most distinctive dinosaurs, the triceratops got its name thanks to the three horns on its head: one on the nose and two on the forehead.

Dinosaur remains are increasingly attracting private buyers with enough money to outbid museums and research centres.

Specialist auctioneers Giquello said there were a dozen potential buyers for Big John, whose restoration was carried out in Trieste, Italy.

However in the past dinosaur auctions have been unpredictable. While an allosaurus and a t-rex recently sold far above their estimates, several other dinosaurs have failed to reach their minimum price.

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