Usually, it did not connect the world with the preservation of natural history with sporadic outbursts of letters and squatters – or at least not last month, when the fossil of the Tyrannosaurus rex baby, potentially the only one that existed, continued on eBay to "buy now" a price of 2, 95 million USD.
The list reads: "Probably the only Babie T-Rex in the world! It has a 15 FOOT long body and 21" SKULL with jagged teeth! This Rex was a very dangerous carnivorous. It's a rare opportunity to really see a baby REX … "
The skeleton, estimated to be 68 million years old, was first discovered in 2013 on private land in Montana. It became the property of the man who discovered it, Alan Detrick, a professional fossil hunter. In 2017, Detrick borrowed the Fossil of the Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas, where it was still shown when Detrich brought the surprise decision to auction it.
Skeletal analysis can help solve a great debate in paleontology as to whether small North American tyrannosaurs are infants or should have a separate classification of the nano-root. Such research may now be impossible with the fossil likely to end in a private collection.
The Society for Vertebrate Vertebrates also criticized Denver, who will take an important sample outside the scope of the scientific study, and the university, to help increase inflation on the price of the fossil, acting as a window for buying professional buyers.
In an open letter published last week, members of the SVP said it was regrettable that the fossil was exposed before it could be studied. "That the action, which brought the fossil of attention to hundreds or thousands of visitors, potentially increased its commercial value," they write. "Museums rarely have a budget for buying more expensive private collected samples."
The University of Kansas later said they were unaware of Detrick's plans to put the skeleton at auction. In a statement museum director Leonard Kristalka said the exhibition has now been removed and returned to Detrich, and they have asked for any association with the museum to be removed from listing.
So far no one has expressed any interest in paying the price it requires, although there is an opportunity to make a bid, and the subject has over 100 people who "see" it. All museums who hope to be able to pay for a quick study and then send them will be disappointed – Detrich emphasized the return policy.