In Paris, the skeleton of a small dinosaur that lived millions of years ago is up for auction, and auctioneers claim that its size “is perfect for someone’s living room”. However, experts and palaeontologists say that the archaeological find belongs in a museum and not some rich guy’s living room.
The skeleton is believed to be of an iguanodon dinosaur and it measures about four feet (1.3 metres) tall and 9.8 feet (three metres) long, making it small enough to fit in a run-of-the-mill living room. But is it appropriate to showcase such a scientific discovery as a trophy?
Palaeontologist Steve Brusatte, who works with the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, disagrees. It’s “much more than just ornaments for the rich to put in their living rooms,” he said while talking to Daily Mail.
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“A dinosaur would look pretty good in my living room too, but they don’t belong there. They belong in a museum, where they can be conserved, studied by scientists, and displayed to the public, where they educate and inspire”, said Brusatte.
Another palaeontologist, Thomas Carr of the Carthage College in Wisconsin believes that the specimen has been misidentified and is actually another herbivore called camptosaurus.
Speaking to Daily Mail, he said that although he is not an expert on ornithopod dinosaurs, auction houses “shouldn’t be in the business of selling things they know nothing about” if they “can’t even identify the fossil correctly.”
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He contends that, contrary to what the auction company claims, there were no Iguanodon species in North America during the late Jurassic period.
In recent times, Dinosaur bones have gone from being the subject of research to expensive art pieces. Once they were almost exclusively purchased by museums for reasonable prices are now sold to the highest bidder for millions.
Auctioneer Alexandre Giquello, while talking to Reuters said that the specimen, known as “Zephyr,” is the perfect size for a one-of-a-kind piece of home décor. It is estimated to sell for between 400,000 and 500,000 euros ($495,000).
The dinosaur, which Italian palaeontologists partially reconstructed, was found in Moffat County, Colorado in 2019 when road construction was taking place on private property. Little is known about the dinosaur’s journey from the earth to the Paris auction house.
(With inputs from agencies)
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