How about some fighting dinosaurs for $2.8 million?
June 10th, 2011
01:59 PM ET

How about some fighting dinosaurs for $2.8 million?

If you've got a heap of extra cash waiting to be spent on something that will make your friends jealous, you might consider heading to Dallas on Sunday.

Heritage Auctions is offering four dinosaurs, including a "fighting pair" made up of an allosaurus and a stegosaurus, as well as 9-foot-tall shark jaws and more than 200 other curiosities of natural history. And while they may make excellent conversation pieces in an oversized living room, museums would hope that you'd donate them so that more people can see them and scientists can study them further.

The allosaurus and stegosaurus were found in 2007 in the Dana Quarry of Wyoming in a rare state: The stegosaurus's leg was in the allosaurus's mouth, meaning they could have been in combat at the moment of their death. The estimated price for the pair is $2.8 million, and they are thought to be about 155 million years old. Heritage says this is the first time that these dinosaurs have been found together. The bones have not been officially studied, but their scientific integrity has been preserved, said Yinan Wang, the auction house's natural history coordinator.

And here's another source of wonder: two pieces of the famous Murchison meteorite, which fell near Murchison, Australia, in 1969. The rock contains amino acids, the building blocks of life, giving credence to the theory that the "stuff of life" on Earth came from elsewhere. Researchers are still trying to make sense of the organic compounds in its fragments.

The triceratops skeleton is particularly unusual because it has most of its teeth; often, skulls are found without any, said Tony Fiorillo, chief paleontologist at the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science. Teeth can provide insights into what it ate, and therefore might reveal other elements of its lifestyle. The triceratops and the giant shark jaws have been on display at the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science since before the auction.

Generally, most pieces in natural history auctions go to private collectors, said David Herskowitz, director of Heritage. Some people put fossils on display at their homes, others are stored away in crates. One client has an entire building on his property used as a "private museum."

But there have been cases where corporations have worked with public museums to acquire specimens in exchange for recognition of the corporation in the museum's display, which works out well for both parties, Fiorillo said.

"Museums are generally short on funding for the purchase of specimens like this. That’s unfortunately one of the realities," Fiorillo said.

"One of the things that I would hope is that many of these do end up in museum collections, because then they’d do the greatest amount of good," he added.

The auction takes place at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Tower Building in Dallas' Fair Park.

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Filed under: Dinosaurs • Science • Texas
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Ohmy

    Dallas Museum is getting rid of this stuff because it conflicts with the state's official belief in Old Testament creationism.

    June 10, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar The Chorizo Champ Of Chihuahua

    I really don't want to go to Dallas.

    June 10, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar The Chorizo Champ Of Chihuahua

    Every time I go to Dallas I end up puking on a sidewalk and waking up at Dealey Plaza with a violent hangover.

    June 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. €Engleberthumperdink¥£

    @Cesar Chorizo: That's because you are a dweeb.

    June 10, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bal

    only 2 million you say? Hold on while I check my piggy bank.

    June 11, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. edvhou812

    Yeah, right. Donate. If I had the money to spend on those fossils, I'd make a room to display them. It'd be my way of becoming more like Bruce Wayne.

    June 11, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. UrUrrrr

    Too bad they did not allow the study and description of these specimens first. Why did museum have them on display when there could have been science worthy information obtained from them?

    June 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wayne

      It's more like, science and papers can not be done on the pieces until it is in a museum or university collection. Researchers don't want to work on something that may end up in private collections where no one might ever see them again. So lets hope a patron buys these and donates them to a museum.

      June 11, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alex

    I feel that this stuff is more important history wise than any of Picasso's paintings or anyone else's that have sold for over 50 million. To me, 2.8 million for this is cheap. This is 155 million year old REAL dinosaur bones. I mean, how many of these can you buy??

    June 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • UrUrrrr

      Well put. I completely agree.

      June 11, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Seth

    Shouldn't those be in a museum?

    June 11, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • amy

      Indiana Jones would agree with you.

      June 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Agian

      Hopefully they will end up in a museum! They were found on private land, and a lot of work was put into making them museum-worthy.

      June 11, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. WOW

    Better idea, why dont we clone them and make real dinosaurs!!!

    June 11, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      With what DNA? Fossils are fossils, rock, with no organic material left.

      June 11, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Well, they have found organic material inside of fossilized T-Rex femurs but you have to break it in half to look for it. Plus, this is more than twice as old as T-Rex fossils.

      June 13, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. Denver Fowler

    Every year, museums across the US discover important new dinosaur skeletons and they don't get in the news. Mention a six-figure sum and all of a sudden it gets on CNN. This article is little more than a free commercial for some scientifically unimportant specimens that someone wants to sell. If you have money to spare, give it directly to a museum so that they can find their own specimens. "save it for science" is the cry of the seller and auctioneer, who make a tidy profit; not the museums.

    June 11, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      There are a lot of things appearing on CNN that appear to be commercials. Not surprising. News isn't exactly a cash-cow these days.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  12. gupsphoo

    Some evangelicals are going to come out and argue these fossils are only a few thousand years old. lol

    June 12, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Amazed

      How did this become a Christian whacking session? For all those who think Christianity and dinos don't go together, go read Job 40:15- 24 and decide for yourself what you think it describes.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. Aezel

    Was Jesus found riding on the back of them? LOL.

    June 12, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Monstermash

      Yes, he was riding the plated Stegosaurus. Youch!

      June 12, 2011 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
    • greg

      No – simply because dinosaurs were real and jesus was not.

      June 12, 2011 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. Chuks

    Heritage auctions can pass the directly to the hopeful museums. Why does my money have to come between that?

    June 12, 2011 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chuks

    Heritage auctions can pass them directly to the hopeful museums. Why does my money have to come between them?

    June 12, 2011 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
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