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After the baby T-rex that left a gigantic footprint on eBay when it went for over $2 million, another dinosaur skeleton up for auction is trampling that.
“Skinny” is a close relative of the Diplodocus who is getting dino-sized attention now that Parisian auction house Aguttes is giving anyone with about $1.5-1.8 million to burn the chance to put him in their waiting room and freak out potential guests. The auction will happen June 13 at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel. At least museums are going to have a chance to bid right next to millionaires looking for a literally huge enhancement to their home décor.
“Exceptional skeleton of a close relative of Diplodocus, with very rare impressions of skin. Probable new Diplodocidae related to Diplodocus and cousin of the famous Dippy of the Natural History Museum of London,” the listing reads.
There’s just one thing. Dippy is actually a replica that wowed guests at the Natural History Museum in London for over a hundred years. Skinny is the real deal.
Unearthed in 2012, Skinny’s skeleton was restored and articulated by Paleomoove Laboratory. The lab caught the entire process on video in case the specimen ever needs to be studied further (more on that in a second). The dinosaur which, until recently, had a stint greeting travelers in terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport is over 20 feet tall and 42 feet long, but can be reconfigured if he doesn’t exactly fit wherever he’s going to next. Along with the skeleton, the winning bidder also gets the GPS coordinates for the site where Skinny first emerged.
Not only is Skinny 90 percent complete, but his skull is almost 70% intact, which isn’t found easily when you’re looking at a sauropod of this size. Most long-necked dinosaurs just don’t fossilize well, especially at the head, which is why they need to have to have their skulls reconstructed from plastic or resin. The bones are all from one dinosaur — another thng that doesn't happen often with great sauropods. Skinny also has actual mummified dinosaur skin attached to some of his bones, making him one of the rarest of rare finds.
“It is an exceptional skeleton on several points,” said paleontologist Eric Mickeler, who works for Aguttes. “You have a large amount of skin that has mummified on the skeleton. This is an extremely rare phenomenon.”
Most of what we know about dinosaur skin comes from imprints left long after the creature died and the skin itself decomposed. What color a dinosaur was is usually left to theory, which is why there are illustrations ranging from feathered rainbow reptiles to giant greyish or greenish lizards that are a little less flashy.
You’re probably going to want a museum to win this one after finding out about the skin. There may even be a chance that future findings show the bones need to be rearranged in a way no one ever thought of before.
If one thing is for sure, whoever wins Skinny will never have a problem starting a conversation again.