The Most Expensive Dinosaur Skeleton in the World
Written by Issa and published on
Sue, a 67–65.5 million year-old female Tyrannosaurus rex sold by Sotheby's for $8,362,500 on October 4, 1997, holds the world record as the best preserved, most extensive, and most expensive dinosaur skeleton ever unearthed. The winning bid was the sum of solicited money from California State University system, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, McDonald's, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and individual donors whose common goal was to purchase Sue for public viewing and study at The Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH), a home for some prized specimens, in Chicago, Illinois.
T-rex, a notorious carnivorous predator, can grow up to 46 feet long, 20 feet high at the hips and weigh 5 to 7 tons. Its head alone measures up to five feet long. Sue was the first complete t-rex dinosaur skeleton ever excavated. After assembling all the bones found, the T-rex skeleton measured 40 feet (12 meters) long from nose to tail, and 12 feet (4 meters) tall at the hips. The original skull was too distorted to be attached on the T-rex skeleton so the museum made a cast of the real skull instead.
Sue got its name from Sue Hendrickson, a paleontologist working for Black Hills Institute who found these T-rex fossils at a private ranch owned by an ethnic (i.e. Sioux) group member, Maurice Williams in 1990. Disputes went on regarding the rightful ownership of Sue, yet after the US government granted Williams' request to sell Sue through an auction, it finally became a permanent tourist property & attraction at FMNH.
It's no surprise why more science enthusiasts, commercial collectors and researchers lock horns at fossil auctions. Thinking of digging fossils to earn big bucks? Keep in mind that the fossil's age, beauty, condition, and rarity dictate its price.