Speed Reads

Dino Digging

'Brilliantly restored' T. rex fossil fetches more than $5M at auction house

A massive Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton was auctioned off in Switzerland on Tuesday, and investors needed a Jurassic-sized check to get their hands on it. 

The composite skeleton, dubbed Trinity, is made up of 293 bones collected from three sites across Montana and Wyoming. It stands 38 feet long and 12.8 feet high, The Associated Press reported, and sold for $5.3 million at the Koller auction house in Zurich.

Trinity is made up of more than half "original bone material," according to Koller, which describes it as "one of the most spectacular T. rex skeletons in existence, a well-preserved and brilliantly restored fossil." Finding a preserved, original T. rex skull — like the one on Trinity — is also a rare feat. 

"When dinosaurs died in the Jurassic or Cretaceous periods, they often lost their heads," said scientific advisor Nils Knoetschke, per AP, adding, "Most dinosaurs are found without their skulls, but here we have truly original Tyrannosaurus skull bones that all originate from the same specimen."

Adding to the rarity is the fact that Trinity is "not a cast or a copy, it's the original. And there are very few," Hans Jacob-Siber, a paleontologist at Switzerland's Aathal Dinosaur Museum, told Reuters"In fact, until about 1970 or 1980, there used to be less than a dozen Tyrannosaurus [skeletons]."

Trinity was just the third completed T. rex skeleton to be offered at auction, and the first ever in Europe. Two other T. rexes found in North America, Sue and Stan, were sold for $8.4 million and $31.8 million, respectively, CNN reported. Sue is a permanent fixture at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, and Stan is slated to headline a new natural history museum opening in Abu Dhabi in 2025.