Every unearthing of an animal fossil is an exciting historical discovery in the world of science. The fossils of animals that lived millions of years ago can reveal a lot about how they lived and how the animal kingdom has evolved since. The value of the fossils depends on factors like rarity, age of the fossil, the size, the clarity, and the level of scientific value. Many animal fossils were auctioned for impressive sums of money. Here is a list of the 10 most valuable fossils in terms of money.
Sue the T-Rex
The fossil of the Tyrannosaurus rex nicknamed Sue is also one of the largest, most extensive, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimens ever found. The 80 percent complete fossil was discovered near an Indian reservation in South Dakota in 1990. It was auctioned by Sotheby’s New York in 1998 for $8.3 million, which is the highest price ever paid for a dinosaur skeleton. The fossil is bought on behalf of the Field Museum in Chicago by various private and public companies, including Walt Disney and McDonalds.
Trio of Diplodocus
The fossils of the Trio of Diplodocus, nicknamed Prince, Apollonia and Twinky, found in the Jurassic soil in Wyoming, USA, between 2007 and 2010, are one of the famous fossil discoveries in the world. The 80 per cent complete trio fossils, which were auctioned to the NUS museum of Natural History for $5.8 million, are among some of the most expensive fossils ever sold. Dippy, the juvenile diplodocus, Prince, which is thought to be the larger male and the smaller female adult, Apollonia are kept in the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore.
Battling Allosaurus and Stegosaurus
The fighting dinosaurs — an allosaurus and a stegosaurus, were discovered locked in mortal combat in a Wyoming quarry with the jaw of the allosaurus wrapped around the leg of the stegosaurus. The scientists hypothesize that the two were engaged in a predator-prey battle killing one another and being entombed in mud. The historically important fossils of the Allosaurus and Stegosaurus, which have lived 155 million years ago in the Upper Jurassic, were auctioned together for $2.7m at the Heritage Auctions in 2011.
Misty the diplodocus
The fossil of the diplodocus that was unearthed by a palaeontologist’s son at Ten Sleep quarry in Wyoming. This specimen, which was one among the six complete diplodocus fossils ever unearthed, is named Misty. It was cleaned and transported to England, where it was auctioned for an impressive
£400,000 ($652,000) at the Summers Place Auctions in the UK in November 2013. The magnificent creature, which lived 150 million to 154 million years ago in the Jurassic period, was the largest land animal to have ever existed.
The rare and virtually complete fossil of Triceratops was discovered in South Dakota in 2004. The skull of the skeleton was entirely intact and was painstakingly assembled over a month. The fossil was auctioned for an impressive $550,000 at Heritage Auctions in 2011. Triceratops horridus is one of the popular fossils in the world and declared as the state fossil of South Dakota.
The fossil of a triceratops skull that is around 65 million years old was unearthed in Montana in 2008. The animal, which is one of the easily recognisable dinosaurs, lived in North America during the late Cretaceous period. The skull was auctioned for $250,950 at Heritage Auctions. The animal, which is named Triceratops for its “three-horned face”, is one of the last known non-avian dinosaur genera that became extinct in the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago.
The fossil of this rare duck-billed dinosaur, which lived to 65 to 75 million years, was first discovered in Montana in the US during the 1990s and has since been on display at Emmen Zoo in Holland. Harpocrasaurus is said to be the last living species of the dinosaurs. The fossil was sold for $170,000 after the contents of a closed-down natural history museum were auctioned off in a once-in-a-180 million year lifetime sale. The fossil of the herbivore animal is 25 feet long and 9 feet tall.
These duck-billed dinosaurs lived 66 million to 100 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period for the most part across the North American continent. This was a herbivores animal that could grow up to around 12 metres in height and around 40 tons in weight. The fossil of the animal found from upper Maastrichtian strata of the Hell Creek Formation of Montana, USA, had a partial skull and nearly complete articulated postcranium. A juvenile Edmontosaurus was auctioned for an impressive $132,500 at Heritage Auctions in 2008.
The fossil of the flying reptile Rhamphorhynchus that lived 144 million to 159 million years ago in the Late Jurassic Period in Europe has a diamond-shaped rudder at the tip of its tail. The animal is a winged dinosaur, similar to pterodactyl, with a wingspan of two metres, and are thought to have survived on fruit and insects. Researchers found layers of skin threaded with blood vessels, muscles and long fibres that stiffened the wings on the well-preserved Rhamphorhynchus Muensteri fossil. The specimen, which is one of the famous animal fossils in the world, was found in Germany and was sold for $67,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas in 2008.
The fossil, unveiled on December 5, 2008, in the journal Nature, is the preserved body of a type of dolphin-like marine reptile called an Ichthyosaur, that lived 66 million to 252 million years ago during the early Jurassic period. The animal was the top predator in the prehistoric oceans up until they were superseded by the plesiosaur. The fossil still has folds, ripples and cells that held some of the animal’s pigmentation and the chemical traces of blubber. The preserved specimen, which is also the most famous fossils in marine reptile category, was sold for $65,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas in 2008. The animal’s precise colour or patterning is unknown by but the evidence of the fossil suggests that its back was darker in colour than its belly.