A dinosaur skeleton was about to get auctioned at Christie’s in Hong Kong. And then this happened…

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The Tyrannosaurus rex skull.

Photo : AP

Hong Kong: A 20 million auction selling Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton was all set to take place on November 30 until it was called off. British auction house Christie’s, the organiser of the auction, was forced to withdraw the sale just days before it was due to go under the hammer after doubt was raised about its appearance.This happened after a well-known palaeontologist raised concerns that parts of it looked similar to another dinosaur, reported The Guardian. However, Christie’s in its statement did not reveal why the auction was cancelled and refused to respond to media queries on the auction withdrawal.

Christie’s statement said that the rex skeleton will now be loaned to a museum by the consignor for public display. The rex dinosaur skeleton was scheduled to go under the hammer on November 30 in Hong Kong

Here’s Christie’s statement on the auction cancellation:

“After consultation with the consignor of the Tyrannosaurus rex scheduled for sale on 30 November in Hong Kong, Christie’s has decided to withdraw the lot. The consignor has now decided to loan the specimen to a museum for public display.”

The dinosaur skeleton auction that never happened

The 1,400kg (3,100lb) rex skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus, a type of dinosaur – nicknamed Shen was scheduled to be auctioned on November 30. The auction was later cancelled after an expert found similarities with the other, previously sold rex skeleton.

The Trex had an auction estimate of $15-$25m (£12.7-£21.2m). Shen was excavated from Montana and is 4.6 metres (15ft) tall and 12 metres long. It is thought to be an adult male that lived about 67 million years ago.

Shen will now be kept in a museum for public display.

Why was the auction cancelled?

The auction was reportedly cancelled after a palaeontologist said that the parts of Shen looked similar to another dinosaur skeleton named Stan that was auctioned earlier.

A palaeontologist and the president of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in South Dakota, Pete Larson raised concerns that some of Shen appeared remarkably similar to Stan, another T rex skeleton auctioned off by Christie’s for a record-breaking $31.8m in 2020.

While talking to New York Times, Larson said it looked as if the unnamed owner of Shen had supplemented some of the skeleton’s missing bones with casts of Stan’s skeleton.

Calling the sale to be misleading, Larson told NYT, “They’re using Stan to sell a dinosaur that’s not Stan.”

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