For anyone who’s wanted to live out their dreams of going to Jurassic Park, the auction of “one of the most famous and rarest” dinosaurs, The Raptor, will bring you one step closer.
The 126-fossil bone skeleton of the Deinonychus, which served as the real-life inspiration for the movie franchise’s infamous velociraptor, has been incredibly preserved for about 108 million to 115 million years.
It’s estimated to sell for between $4 million and $6 million, and will be auctioned off by Christie’s on May 12 as part of New York Spring Marquee Week.
The Raptor has only been publicly exhibited once in Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum of Denmark from June 2020 to December 2021.
It was excavated from Wolf Canyon in the US state of Montana in the 2010s and has been privately owned since then.
“With a handful of recorded specimens found and only two skeletons in museum collections, The Raptor is the single most complete Deinonychus known to exist, and the only privately owned specimen,” Christie’s says.
Christie’s Head of Department, Books, Travel & Science James Hyslop said they were “elated” to be chosen for the sale of the Raptor.
“The Raptor’s presence is truly captivating and ultimately a reminder that this iconic predator remains truly thrilling to a worldwide audience and an everlasting moment of the zeitgeist,” he said.
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What do we know about the Deinonychus?
The carnivorous Deinonychus, which translates to “terrible claw”, lived during the early cretaceous period between 120-110 million years ago.
It was classified as a small theropod and grew to a length of almost 10 feet, weighing 75 kilograms.
“Deinonychus could hold onto its prey with fearsome front claws. One huge claw on each foot swivelled – a kick would rip prey apart,” the UK’s Natural History Museum says.
It was “a smaller, more agile, pack-hunting predator was the most feared – and smartest -animal of its time”, Christie’s adds, describing the dinosaur as a “dexterous killer”.
The velociraptor as named in the Jurassic Park movies was actually much smaller in real life than the Deinonychus, measuring about 6 feet in length and weighing about 100 pounds.