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This Rare 200-Pound T-Rex Skull Could Fetch up to $20 Million at Auction Next Month

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Maximus skull Sotheby's

Another day, another Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton heading to auction. Following a number of high-profile fossil sales, Sotheby’s is now offering history buffs a chance to own a T-rex skull. 

The ancient relic, known as “Maximus,” dates back some 76 million years and is the first of its kind to appear at a public auction, according to Sotheby’s. Less than a dozen skulls of a similar quality exist and all reside in museum collections. As a result, this highly sought-after cranium is expected to fetch between $15 million and $20 million next month. 

“Ranking among the best and most complete T-Rex skulls ever found, this extremely rare fossil comes to market on the heels of our Gorgosaurus sale this summer—marking an unprecedented moment for two incredibly significant specimens to be offered within such a short period,” Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s head of science and popular culture, told the Associated Press.

Standing six foot seven inches tall, Maximus tips the scales at a rather hefty 200 pounds. The fossil was excavated in 2020 and 2021 from the Hell Creek Formation in Harding County, South Dakota. This area, nicknamed “the world capital for T-Rexes,” was also where the famous dinosaur fossils Stan and Sue were found. The two T-Rex skeletons sold for $31.8 million and $8.3 million at auction, respectively.

Most of the remains of Maximus were destroyed by erosion, making this a truly extraordinary discovery. The skull has retained much of its original shape and even the smallest and most delicate bones are still intact. Maximus has a few battle scars, too, with two large puncture holes showing evidence of a big fight with another T-Rex.

The demand for dinosaur bones among private buyers remains strong despite the criticism from the scientific community regarding the commercialization of historical finds. As mentioned, Stan and Sue both achieved several million at auction. Back in July, Sotheby’s sold a Gorgosaurus skeleton for $6.1 million. Shen, one of the most complete T-Rex skeletons ever found, will also be auctioned off this month with a high estimate of $25 million.

Maximus will be auctioned without reserve in a single lot on December 9 in New York.

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