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World’s largest stegosaurus fossil to be auctioned

World’s largest stegosaurus fossil to be auctioned

Largest Stegosaurus

The largest stegosaurus fossil ever discovered is set to be auctioned next month in New York. The fossil, known as “Apex,” was excavated in 2023 near Colorado’s Morrison Formation. It is estimated to fetch between $4 million and $6 million.

It consists of 247 bones and measures 11 feet tall and 20 feet long. The fossil is between 146 million and 161 million years old. Cassandra Hatton, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Science and Popular Culture at Sotheby’s, expressed excitement about the discovery.

She recalled how commercial paleontologist Jason Cooper first found part of the fossil on his property. Apex is considered the largest and most complete stegosaurus ever found. It surpasses the previous record-holder, “Sophie,” by 30%.

The auction is scheduled for July 17 in New York.

Apex fossil sparks ethical debate

The specimen will be exhibited at galleries in New York before the sale.

This exhibition is free and open to the public. The sale has ignited discussions about the ethics of selling dinosaur fossils to private collectors. Paul David Polly, a professor at Indiana University, critiqued auctions for emphasizing complete dinosaurs rather than the scientific study of their environments.

Canadian paleontologist Greg Funston added that when fossils are kept in private collections, they become inaccessible to scientists, hindering research.

Lucas, a paleontologist with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, pointed out that commercial paleontology could preserve fossils for both science and education. Despite these debates, it remains legal to sell fossils discovered on private property in the U.S. This is unlike in countries such as Canada, Brazil, and South Africa, which have stricter regulations. The discussion surrounding the sale of Apex underscores broader conversations about the commercial value versus the scientific significance of such rare finds.

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