Why scientists are upset about a dinosaur fossil’s sale — and $2.4 million price tag

Jun 7, 2018

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

By the time the scientists had catalogued the last bone, they realized they might be staring at the discovery of a lifetime — the 70 percent intact fossil of a carnivorous creature as long as a telephone pole that may represent a new kind of dinosaur.

But that is not all that they unearthed.

Five years after it was discovered in Wyoming, the bones of the creature — it still has no name — have been sold at auction to a private art collector for $2.36 million on Monday, exhuming a debate that is at once economic, political and ethical.

Should the fate of a 150-million-year-old fossil lie in the hands of one deep-pocketed person who happens to be the highest bidder? Or should it be controlled by a museum or another authority who can ensure that it can be studied by scientists and preserved for posterity?

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