An unusually complete fossil of a king dragon has shocked many palaeontologists by selling it for a record $31.8 million at christie’s in New York. The auction took place on October 6 local time and the official name of the fossil at auction is BHI 3033. But it is affectionately known as “Stan” and is named after its discoverer, amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison.
In 1987, Sacrison discovered the fossilized dragon skeleton in the Hell Creek formation near Buffalo, South Dakota.
Stan is 12 meters long and nearly 5 meters high and consists of 188 bones. When it was discovered in 1987, it was mistaken for a triangular dragon fossil, which is more common. It wasn’t until 1992, when Sacrison brought the fossils to the Black Hills Institute of Geology, that scientists realized that they were the skeleton fossils of the dragon. Before it was auctioned, “Stan” was shown at the Institute of Geology for nearly 20 years.
Stan is one of the most famous dinosaur bones in the world and the most replicated dragon skeleton in history. James Hyslop, christie’s head of science and natural history, told Forbes, “The images of the bones of the overlord dragons that people see are probably from ‘Stan’.” “
Christie’s said, “The neat and vicious punss on the teeth of the overlord Dragon ‘Stan’ indicates that he himself was an injured warrior who had been attacked by the same kind.” “
Only about 50 fossils have been found since the first fossils of the dragon were unearthed in 1902. By law, fossils found on private land can only be sold, and the dragon “Stan” meets this requirement.
Stan’s buyer information was not disclosed, and the entire auction process was completed by telephone bidding, lasting 20 minutes, and the closing price was four times higher than previously estimated. The $31.8 million dwarfs the 1997 sale price of the overlord dragon fossil Sue. “Sue” sold for $8.36 million and was purchased by the Field Museum of Natural History.
Paleontologists worry that such a deal would encourage more fossils to be traded privately, preventing researchers from accessing important specimens. The Vertebrate Paleontology Society wrote to Christie’s in September asking it to limit the scope of the auction to “those agencies that are committed to managing specimens in the public interest and permanently, or those that bid on behalf of those institutions.”
Ironically, the terms of the deal prohibit buyers from making 3D models of dinosaurs.