Dinosaur skeleton sells for nearly $8 million at auction

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An American collector shelled out $7.7 million to buy a rare dinosaur skeleton at an auction in Paris on Thursday, Oct. 21.

People call the skeleton Big John. He’s the world’s largest triceratops skeleton. “The history behind this and the curation of it is absolutely impressive,” says Djuan Rivers, the winning bidder on behalf of the anonymous U.S. buyer.

$7.7 million was five times the expected price. “For a triceratops, and for an herbivore, this is unbelievable record, really,” says Iacopo Briano, a paleontologist involved in the sale.

Paleontologists dug Big John up back in 2014. The mammoth dinosaur comes in at 23-feet long and eight-feet high, with a massive skull and three-foot horns. He was named after the owner of the land where the bones were found.

Big John roamed modern day South Dakota more than 66 million years ago. So, it might be fitting that he’s going home. “It’s being acquired by an American collector, and that individual is absolutely thrilled with the idea of being able to bring a piece like this to his personal use,” Rivers says.

Big John’s buyer will now get all 200 pieces of the dinosaur and hopefully instructions on how to put him back together.

The most expensive dinosaur ever sold was a T-Rex that went for $32 million last year in New York.

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