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Ancient mammoth skeleton sells for $645,000

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Ancient mammoth skeleton sells for $645,000

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The most intact woolly mammoth skeleton ever found was sold Saturday at a mammoth price — about $645,000.

The prehistoric set of bones were discovered in Siberia about a decade ago by a professional hunter and has an estimated value of $530,000, said France-based auctioneer Claude Aguttes. The hunter had preserved the remains in his home, the BBC reported. Mammoth remains are frequently found in Siberia and Russia's northern regions.

Image: A whole mammoth skeleton of the species

The nearly complete skeleton sold for 540,000 euros to Soprema CEO Pierre-Etienne Bindschelder at the Aguttes auction house in Lyon. Soprema sells products focused on waterproofing.

"We are going to display it in the lobby of our firm," Bindschelder said. "I think we have enough room."

Related: Woolly mammoth's skeleton sells for $300,000 at auction

International news outlet Agence France-Presse reported that this was one of the largest species ever found. Upon discovery, the skeleton was 80 percent intact.

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The skeleton measures 10 feet in height and has two tusks that each measure more than 9 feet in length and have a combined weight of 353 pounds, Reuters reported in November. Experts said that the skeleton must be at least 10,000 years old and the mammoth must have weighed close to 3,000 pounds.

Upon examination, scientists observed that the skeleton's teeth showed signs of decay, which may be a possible cause of death for this particular mammoth. If the animal was unable to graze, it may have had difficulty sustaining itself.

Scientists attribute the decline and eventual extinction of the woolly mammoth to climate change and an increase in human population.

Related: Well-preserved mammoth could be used for cloning

The first mammoth skeleton was sold in 2006 for about $176,000. Prior to its auction, it was displayed in a southern France region in a wine cellar. In October 2012, another was sold for almost $283,000. More recently in December 2016, fossils from a dinosaur sold for more than $1.4 million.

Euronews provides articles from NBC News as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes.