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Extraordinary 161-million-year-old Stegosaurus to go up for auction at Sotheby's

A stegosaurus skeleton is displayed at Sotheby's New York in New York, Wednesday, 10 July 2024.
A stegosaurus skeleton is displayed at Sotheby's New York in New York, Wednesday, 10 July 2024. Copyright Credit: Pamela Smith/AP
Copyright Credit: Pamela Smith/AP
By Theo FarrantAP
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Discovered in May 2022 in Colorado’s Morrison Formation, "Apex" is touted as the most complete Stegosaurus ever found, with 79% of its bones intact.

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The bones of a nearly complete 161-million-year-old dinosaur is going under the hammer at at Sotheby’s in New York, as part of their annual Geek Week sale series.

'Apex,' billed as the most complete Stegosaurus ever discovered measures 11 feet tall and approximately 27 feet long from the tip of its tail to its nose, according to Cassandra Hatton, the Global Head of Science and Popular culture at Sotheby’s.

“In terms of Stegosaurus, this is an incredibly rare animal. There are only eight or nine known in the world,” says Hatton.

Sotheby's collaborated closely with the owner to document the entire process, from discovery and excavation to restoration, preparation, and mounting.

“It's about 79% complete,” Hatton said. “That is based on how much of it is actually fossil bone. How much of the bones were actually found?”

Part of a stegosaurus skeleton is displayed at Sotheby's New York in New York, 10 July 2024.
Part of a stegosaurus skeleton is displayed at Sotheby's New York in New York, 10 July 2024. Credit: Pamela Smith/AP
'Apex' the stegosaurus skeleton is displayed at Sotheby's New York, 10 July 2024.
'Apex' the stegosaurus skeleton is displayed at Sotheby's New York, 10 July 2024. Credit: Pamela Smith/AP

The Stegosaurus is the best-known member of the armoured dinosaurs called Thyreophorans, characterised by the distinctive shape and arrangement of dermal armour on its back, extending from the neck to the tail.

“Apex” was discovered in May 2022 in the Morrison Formation, located in Moffat County, Colorado, near the town of Dinosaur. The excavation was completed in October 2023.

The Stegosaurus shows no signs of combat or predation-related injuries. However, evidence of arthritis indicates that it lived to an advanced age.

“The animal was found with the tail curled up underneath the body, which is a common death pose for animals,” Hatton said.

The Jurassic period dinosaur is expected to sell for between $4 and $6 million (€3.7m and €5.5m), although Hatton pointed out that "a Stegosaurus of this caliber has never sold at auction before."

The auction is set to to take place in New York City on 17 July.

Check out the video above for footage of the dino.

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