A 150 to 155 million-year-old skeleton of one of the largest predatory dinosaurs to walk the earth will go under the hammer at an auction in Billingshurst in West Sussex. The 9-foot long juvenile Allosaurus is the first such dinosaur skeleton to be offered for sale in the UK.
The skeleton was found by German palaeontologist Raimund Albersdoerfer in 2009 at a quarry in Wyoming in the US. It is being sold by the Summers Place Auctions and is expected to attract bids of between £300,000 and £500,000.
Tagged the Evolution Sale 2015, it is expected to go on sale together with an Ice Age cave bear standing 97 inches high found in the Carpathian mountains and a very rare fossil penguin found in South America and standing at 26 inches high. Internet bidding is not available on the Allosaurus. Live bidding or telephone bidding only are permitted for this particular lot.
Errol Fuller, the curator of the sale said there has been a "fair amount of interest in the skeleton from museums and private collectors around the world." He said relatively complete dinosaurs were extremely rare and the remains of juveniles were even rarer.
The bones of the Allosaurus were found scattered over a wide area and intermingled with the much larger remains of a Sauropod. Remains of small dinosaurs and juneviles of larger species are extremely rarely found as their most likely cause of death was predation, leaving little left to be preserved.
The Allosaurus was a large Therapod dinosaur which was close to the top of the food chain. Two years ago, the auction house sold the skeleton of a long-necked Diplodocus longus to the Natural History Museum of Denmark for £400,000.
The Diplodocus longus was found also in Wyoming by the teenage sons of Albersdoerfer. The auction house has links with Albersdoerfer who always brought back his finds to Germany.