When the Eiffel Tower was touted in Paris as the most prominent attraction of the 1889 World’s Fair, not everyone liked it.
But here we are, some 129 years later, and the tower, which has become a landmark feature of the city and a must-see when visiting the French capital, will now accommodate perhaps one of the most prominent auctions of the year.
Interested buyers will be able to bid on a real fossilized dinosaur. Some 70 percent of the creature’s original bones are said to be preserved.
The theropod, or three-toed, dinosaur is considered a previously undiscovered type of carnivore and is expected to hit at least $1.4 million and could go significantly higher.
Those interested will be able to bid in euros, as well as in the digital currency bitcoin, according to Reuters.
The dinosaur reportedly dates to the late Jurassic period, roughly some 155 million years ago. Following the auction, if it is proven this is really a new kind, the next owner might have the honor of naming the species.
The choice of name, however, will have to follow the strict rules applied by the scientific community.
Initially, it was thought the skeleton was an Allosaurus, a bipedal genus of the Late Jurassic period that once roamed over North America, parts of Africa, Europe, and North Asia.
Closer inspection of the bones revealed there are significant differences between this specimen and a typical Allosaurus, including a bigger number of teeth, different pelvis bone, and different skull bones, says a press release from the auction house Aguttes.
The anatomical differences of this specimen with Allosaurus were confirmed when the bones were brought to experts in Europe, Aguttes explains.
The remnants of the gigantic creature, which is almost 30 feet long, were excavated in 2013 at a site that is part of the fossil-rich Morrison Formation in the U.S., in Wyoming.
Until May 18th of this year, the specimen was available for everyone to see at Aguttes in the French city of Lyon.
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The auction house will now move the dinosaur to the Salon Gustave Eiffel on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, where it will be displayed from June 2nd. It will be a one-lot auction, and the bidding is expected to begin at 6 P.M. local time on June 4, 2018.
The auction will be supervised by an expert on dinosaurs, Prof. Eric Mickeler, who praised the specimen in statements for The Guardian.
He said: “This is the first time in almost 20 years I’ve seen anything like this. It’s fantastic, with an extraordinary skull, lots of teeth and the claws.”
“Dinosaur skeletons used to be bought by museums or collectors but recently there’s interest from a whole range of people,” Mickeler told The Guardian, sharing a message that whoever the new owner may be, he hopes they will place the specimen on public display.
The extraordinary dinosaur skeleton is fixed on a steel support structure which enables the skull to stay attached.
This is rare, as most dinosaur skeletons displayed in an upright posture have a resin replica of the skull, which weighs way less than original skull.
This design of the supporting structure allows individual bones to be taken out from the entire composition to enable scientists and paleontologists to study them in detail.
In their press release, Aguttes state that part of the money from the sale will go to charities for endangered species, including the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society which pledges to protect wildlife habitats from destruction across the world’s oceans, as well as the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Center, a cheetah conservation project.
Sales previously hosted by Aguttes have included other remarkable specimens, such as the skeleton of a mammoth that was sold in December 2017 for more than $633,000.
A skeleton of an Allosaurus dinosaur was also offered once by this auction house, in December 2016, when it sold for over $1.3 million in a Lyon-based event.
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All eyes will be on the Eiffel Tower on June 4th. Some estimates suggest the newly-displayed dinosaur might even fetch over $2 million.