Dinosaur skeleton that helped inspire ‘Jurassic Park’ sells for $12.4m

Skeleton was found on private land in Montana

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Friday 13 May 2022 20:55
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A rare skeleton of the dinosaur that inspired the villains of the Jurassic Park movies sold for $12.4m when it went under the hammer.

The bones of the Deinonychus antirrhopus, a species that became famous with the hit movies, sold at Christie’s for more than double its guide price of $6m.

Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton once admitted that he named the creatures in his book and the 1993 movie “velociraptors” because it was more dramatic than Deinonychus.

The skeleton contains 126 real bones, with the remaining ones, including most of the skull, reconstructed.

The auction house said the fossil, nicknamed Hector, was the first public sale of a Deinonychus, which is described as being an agile, bipedal dinosaur renowned for the claws on its feet.

Hector is around 110 million years old and was discovered a decade ago on private land in Montana by self-taught paleontologists Jack and Roberta Owen.

The most recent owner remained anonymous during the sale.

“I had no idea it would end up at Christie’s,” Mr Owen, 69, told The New York Times.

He and his wife had a deal with landowner who allowed them to dig in return for a share of the profits of anything they found.

The couple first noticed some bone fragments in an area they had found two other animals, and carefully excavated it using a scalpel and toothbrush.

He told the newspaper that he received far less than the most recent sale price, but that his work was never motivated by money.

“It’s about the hunt; it’s about the find,” he said. “You’re the only human being in the world who has touched that animal, and that’s priceless.”

In 2020, Christie’s auctioned off a T. Rex skeleton nicknamed Stan for a record price of $31.8m, nearly four times its estimate of $8m.

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