This massive creature is named “Hector,” he’s over a100 million years old, and his fossils sold for more than $12.4 million (AED45m) in an auction at Christie’s.
Hector is the most complete skeleton of Deinonychus antirrhopus ever found, as per Christie’s. The specimen, excavated in Montana in 2013, dates back to the early Cretaceous period: 115 to 108 million years ago. The auction house stated it is in a remarkable state of preservation and the specimen consists of 126 original fossils on a custom-built frame.
It was expected to sell for a net worth between $4 million (AED14m) and $6 million (AED22m), according to Christie’s.
Instead, it sold for $12.4 million (AED 45m).
The 9-foot-long Deinonychus, which roamed western North America, was named for its distinctive and deadly claw on each foot, says the auction house. Deinonychus means “terrible claw” in ancient Greek.
‘Fish lizard’ fossils found in the Swiss Alps belonged to some of the largest creatures that ever lived.
“Shaped like a sickle and held up off the ground when not in use so as to maintain its lethal sharpness, this claw was used to disembowel its prey,” said Christie’s.
The lethal talon might be familiar to fans of the iconic film series “Jurassic Park,” in which conniving velociraptors kill park guests and battle a Tyrannosaurus rex. However, in reality, Velociraptor was a small turkey-sized dinosaur found mostly in Mongolia. Filmmakers lifted its name, but took most of the attributes from the larger Deinonychus, according to Christie’s.
Hector, only the third complete skeleton of Deinonychus ever found, has been privately owned since his excavation. The other two complete Deinonychus skeletons are owned by museums: one is on display at the American Museum of Natural History.
Dinosaur fossils, particularly for “celebrity” species like those featured in “Jurassic Park,” have fetched impressive sums at auction in the past few decades. In 2020, a T.rex skeleton sold for a record-breaking $31.8 million (AED116m), and in 2021, the world’s largest Triceratops skeleton sold for $7.7 million (AED28m).