Home / Science / Dinosaur fossil sells for $ 2.4 million. Museums are priced by the market?

Dinosaur fossil sells for $ 2.4 million. Museums are priced by the market?

A skeleton of an unknown carnivorous dinosaur discovery in Wyoming 201
3 appears on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on June 2, 2018. (Stephane de Sakutin / AFP / Getty Images)

By that time the scientists had cataloged the last leg, they realized that they could starve at the discovery of a lifetime – 70 percent intact fossil of carnivorous creature as long as a telephone pole that could be a new type of dinosaurs.

But that's not all that they invented.

Five years after it was discovered in Wyoming, the bones of the closet – it's still no name – were sold at auction to a private art collector for $ 2.36 million on Monday, and appreciates a debate. At the same time, it's economic, political and ethical .

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

"An auction is a device for the highest possible price out of something", P. David Polly, the chairman of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and a Professor of Sediment Geology at Indiana University, told Live Science. "And in general, even large museums do not even have budgets to buy copies."

The current dinosaur is dug up between 2013 and 2015 and may be a relative of the Allosaurus, a jubilee bipedal that featured among the first and most studied dinosaurs, according to Live Science.

Eric Mickeler, who works for the Aguttes Auction House who organized the bid fight, told Agence France-Presse that the dinosaur is "the only one of its kind" that has been discovered.

Eric Geneste, a dinosaur expert, told the news organization that researchers can not classify dino as an allosaurus yet. The number of teeth does not fit and the new dinosaur has longer shoulder blades.

"In fact, there are so many differences between it and an allosaurus like between a human being and a gorilla," he added. [19659011] Of course, Wyoming fossils need further studies, researchers say. But paleontologists worry that they will never get a close look at it because the fossil belongs to a private buyer, not a person or organization that is bound by the moral and rules of the larger scientific community.

A few weeks ago, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, representing more than 2,000 students and professionals, asked the auction house to put in sales.

"Scientific important vertebrate fossils are part of our collective natural heritage and deserve to be held in public confidence," the society said in an open letter.

"Fossil copies sold in private hands disappear for science. Although available to researchers, information contained in privately owned copies may not be included in the scientific literature because access to the fossil material to other scientists can not be guaranteed and therefore can the control of scientific claims (essential scientific advances) not be performed. "

The person who bought the dinosaur does not just plan to make it the center of a fountain in his French villa, auctioneer said. The buyer, identified only as a British businessman, has promised to loan it to a museum and said it will be available to researchers.

"Everyone will be able to see it, it will soon be loaned to a museum, It will be studied by researchers, everything is perfect," said auction owner Claude Aguttes to Reuters.

But the buyer has been silently publicly silent on another problem that is scary researchers: If it's a new species, who gets it named

Naming New Species "is governed by the International Nomenclature Code, which prioritizes the first validly published the name, not to the owner of the test that formed the reason for that name, "says society.

However, it is unclear whether the owner was affected by the close promise made on the page 51 of the auction leaflet.

"The buyer will acquire the skeleton of a dinosaur named after them or after one of their children, with the consent of the scientist wh o formally describes the nature, says the auction brochure. "A name would thus remain forever linked to a significant cultural and scientific event."

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