The fossilized remains of ‘Big John’, the largest triceratops dinosaur ever discovered by palaeontologists, could fetch up to 1.5 million euros ($1.75 million) at a Paris auction on Thursday, October 21.
Big John roamed the lands of modern-day South Dakota more than 66 million years ago. Palaeontologists unearthed the first piece of bone in 2014 and by the time they were done had found 60% of his skeleton, including a near-complete skull.
The Drouot auction house estimated Big John’s skeleton would fetch between 1.2-1.5 million euros ($1.4-$1.75 million). Once primarily sold to museums, dinosaur remains have increasingly attracted private buyers, though their numbers remain few.
The skull of Big John, named after the owner of the land where more than 200 of the dinosaur’s bones were found, is 8.5 feet in length – nearly a third of his overall body length – and 6.5 feet wide.
The name triceratops means ‘three-horned face’. In the fossilized remains of his bony frill is a gaping hole, a battle scar inflicted by a smaller rival according to palaeontologist Iacopo Briano.