We might not get to live in a time when dinosaurs roam the Earth, but we still have their skeletons to marvel at. There’s one skeleton, in particular, that’s attracting quite the attention at the moment after going up for auction in France. Nicknamed Big John, he’s expected to go for quite a significant amount of money.
Who is Big John?
Big John is a triceratops notable for being the biggest of his kind ever found. Although he’s missing a few bones – he’s roughly 60% complete – there’s enough of him to span 26 feet. His skull alone is around 6.6 feet wide, making his head bigger than most humans on Earth. He was discovered in 2014 by Walter W. Stein, who unearthed the dinosaur at the Hell Creek Formation. Many fossils have been discovered at this site, which falls in the states of Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas. However, Big John is easily one of the most impressive finds that anyone has ever discovered here.
How did he pass away?
Big John passed away over 66 million years ago, potentially as a result of violent combat. That’s what the notch in his collarbone indicates, anyway. The mud that he was covered and preserved by left this part of his skeleton intact, allowing scientists to reach this conclusion all these years later. Big John was likely competing over territory or mates when the damage was done. Whether the dinosaur was able to return the favor and do equal harm to his challenger is unclear. It’s unlikely that the triceratops went down without a fight, though.
What’s his price tag?
Who gets to own Big John all depends on who’s willing to cough up a lot of cash at auction. After going on display at Paris’ Rue des Archives, he’ll be sold at the Hôtel Drouot as part of the “Naturalia” auction. A statement by auction house Giquello claims that he’s expected to go for anywhere between 1.2 million and 1.5 million Euros. Converted into dollars, that’s between roughly $1.42 million and $1.77 million, so he’s not going to be cheap.
Could he sell for more?
Given Big John’s notable size, there’s every chance he could sell for more at auction. After all, some dinosaur skeletons have had far heftier price tags in the past, including the tyrannosaurus rex Stan. It was only in 2020 that the 67 million-year-old bones went for $31.8 million in what was the priciest fossil sale of all time. Although Big John might not quite reach these dizzying heights, he could definitely sell for more than the predicted value. It all depends on how badly private collectors and scientific institutions want to take him home.
The fact that only one person can be successful may turn this into quite the financial battle in the French auction house. If Big John does exceed expectations and gets auctioned off for millions more, it will certainly make him quite the prized collectible. We suppose congratulations are in order for whoever outbids their competition.