The skeleton of a gorgosaurus, a dinosaur relative of tyrannosaurus rex that lived approximately 77 million years ago, has been sold at auction for over $6 million.
Sotheby’s said the ancient skeleton, which was discovered in the US state of Montana in 2018, sold for just under $6.07 million as part of its natural history auction on Thursday.
It is only one of 20 known gorgosaurus specimens, Sotheby’s said on its website, and the only one known to be available for private ownership. Most of the other specimens were found in Canada, which has strict export rules prohibiting private sales.
The auction house did not say who purchased the skeleton, which measures nearly 3m tall and just under 6.7m long.
The gorgosaurus, whose name means “dreadful lizard”, lived approximately 77 million years ago in what is now the western region of North America, Sotheby’s said.
“This discovery was particularly exceptional due to the rarity of Gorgosaurus material south of the Canadian border, this being one of only few found in the United States,” the auction house said in a social media post earlier this month.
But the sale has angered scientists, who say allowing dinosaur specimens to be sold to private buyers could hurt their ability to study them.