60-foot diplodocus dinosaur skeleton sold for £400,000 in Surrey

The skeleton, named Misty, went up for auction as part of a sale of natural history curiosities

The gigantic skeleton of 160 million year old diplodocus has been auctioned today for £400,000 in Billinghurst, West Sussex.

Unearthed in the US, assembled in the Netherlands and on sale in the UK, the dinosaur is one of only six relatively complete diplodocus skeletons and was estimated to be worth between £400,000 and £600,000.

The 56-ft long skeleton was discovered by the sons of German palaeontologist Raimund Albersdoerfer during a dig in 2009. Hoping to keep his listless offspring busy, Albersdoerfer had suggested that they dig for bones in a neighbouring site, not thinking that they would find anything notable.

When they reported back to their father that they’d discovered a colossal leg bone all work on the main dig halted and Albersdoerfer spent the next nine weeks unearthing what remained of the gigantic creature.

The diplodocus in the process of being excavated in Wyoming. Image credit: SummersPlaceAuctions/BNPS

Errol Fuller, the curator at the Evolution Sale auction, said: "You are talking about a very rare item indeed. Even if you were lucky enough to find one in the first place, the digging out and the preparation then involved is an enormous undertaking.”

The rock that it was embedded in would have been extremely hard to break away from the bones, and you couldn't go at it with a sledge-hammer because the bones were vulnerable to breaking."

After being dug out from the site in Wyoming, the skeleton was sent to Rotterdam to be fitted in its metal frame by Aart Walen, an expert “dinosaur builder”. Luckily for Albersdoerfer the find was made on private land, allowing them to transport it out of the US.

Kate Diment from Summer Place Auctions in Billingshurst West Sussex dusts off the enormous Diplodocus longus skeleton. Image credit: PhilYeomans/BNPS The skeleton is made up of 100 bones and is 40 per cent original, with the other 60 per cent copied from previous specimens.

“There are probably about six of these in the great museums of the world, including in Pittsburg and Washington,” said Fuller.

Speaking to Sky News before the sale, auctioneer James Rylands said "I think we will see a lot of interest from the Far East and possibly the Middle East. You could easily see this dinosaur forming the centrepiece or a big shopping centre or in the atrium of an amazing hotel."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn