‘Fossil hunter’ flogs baby T. rex for $2.95mn on eBay, angering scientists (PHOTO)
The rare fossilized skeleton was uncovered in Montana in 2013 and has been on loan to the University of Kansas Natural History Museum where it was on display until this week, when the exhibition was pulled after it learned that the dinosaur’s owner had listed it on eBay. The museum posted a statement on Twitter distancing itself from the entire enterprise.
The fossil has a 15-foot body and a 21-inch skull. It is owned by Alan Detrich, who describes himself as a “world famous fossil hunter” and found the remains on private property he leased to hunt for fossils. He shared the fossils with the KU museum two years ago because he thought “the public ought to see it.”
Museum director Leonard Krishtalka explained they took issue with how “abruptly” Detrich put the dinosaur on eBay and how the listing made it appear that the university was promoting the sale, and that it falsely claimed a KU researcher was writing a paper on the fossil for a journal.
The retired oil investor appeared nonplussed by the outrage his eBay post generated, telling his critics in a statement: “You’re welcome — for me to allow my dinosaur to be in the museum and to be able to show the people. People have had the opportunity to actually see the baby T. rex.”
Detrich also tweeted about his previous dinosaur sales, saying he sold an adult T. rex skeleton he found in South Dakota in 1992 and named ‘Samson’ for over $8 million in 2001.
News of the sale is being met with horror and dismay among the scientific community who feel private sales prevent them from studying rare fossils. The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) voiced its concerns in a letter which explained the fossil “represents a unique part of life’s past [and] may be lost from the public trust.”
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