Dinosaur auction features fighting pair of skeletons

Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:59am EDT
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By Marice Richter

DALLAS (Reuters) - Natural history buffs with Tyrannosaurus-sized bank accounts got a chance to ante up on Sunday when an unusually large collection of fully assembled, museum-quality dinosaur skeletons was put up for auction.

The featured stars of the Heritage Auctions bidding were a "fighting pair" of dinosaur skeletons that sold to a museum for $2.75 million, and an enormous, 19-foot-long triceratops that fetched $657,250 from a private collector.

The Dallas auction included more than 200 items, including meteorites, minerals and other fossils.

The fighting dinosaurs -- an allosaurus and a stegosaurus -- were offered together because of their discovery in a Wyoming quarry with the jaw of the allosaurus wrapped around the leg of the stegosaurus, leading to speculation that the two were engaged in a predator-prey battle.

Heritage Auctions declined to disclose which museum picked up the pair, though the organization did say the museum was outside the United States.

"I'm ecstatic that 'the fighting pair' found such a great home," David Herskowitz, director of natural history at Heritage Auctions, said in a statement. "These are important and iconic Jurassic-era specimens, which science did not even know existed together at the same time, and now they will be going to a final destination where the public will get to enjoy them and where they will be of maximum benefit to science."

Collectors and museum benefactors were able to bid in person and online.

Hundreds of people showed up at Dallas' Fair Park to catch a glimpse of the rare and unusually large collection of dinosaur skeletons and other artifacts.   Continued...

<p>This handout image shows "The Fighting Pair, Allosaurus and Stegasaurus" that was sold to a museum for $2.75 million on June 12, 2011. REUTERS/Heritage Auction/Handout</p>