Complete with Thagomizer
July 4, 2024 6:14 AM   Subscribe



 
My head says there is so much wrong about selling a full stegosaurus specimen at auction, my heart says I want a full stegosaurus specimen of my own.
posted by chavenet at 6:32 AM on July 4 [8 favorites]


bids are currently at only $3m...
also, dinos got arthritis [science]
posted by HearHere at 6:47 AM on July 4


For some reason Facebook sometimes thinks my shopping demographic is much different than it is, and I recently started getting ads for Sotheby's auctions. The first one was for some woman's collection of designer fashion and handbags and she had *31* Birkins. 31! And I was like 'what kind of person needs 31 Birkins? That's millions of dollars worth of Birkins.'

But then the next ad I got was for this natural history auction including this stegosaurus and I was like 'what kind of person wouldn't want their own stegosaurus even if it is millions of dollars?'

In conclusion, not rich, but if I was, would buy more dinosaurs than handbags.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:50 AM on July 4 [18 favorites]


the skeleton is mounted in an aggressive attack pose
I think this says a lot about the kind of people who buy pricey shit at Sotheby's, given that they're freaking herbivores
posted by phooky at 7:17 AM on July 4 [7 favorites]


Mod note: This has been a dream of ours for a while, so we're happy to put this in the sidebar and Best Of blog!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 7:21 AM on July 4 [4 favorites]


I was like 'what kind of person wouldn't want their own stegosaurus even if it is millions of dollars?'

Well, the person selling this, for one. Clearly, though, a few years ago they did want their own stegosaurus, to the point where they went to great lengths to assemble this one after it was unearthed in 2022-23, even 3D-printing the missing parts. I'm wondering what changed... (a) like Airfix models and jigsaws, it isn't as fun once you've finished assembling it; (b) it turned out bigger than expected and they're sick of having to edge past it to leave the room; (c) they're hoping to trade it in for an Argentinosaurus; (d) skeleton is haunted.
posted by rory at 7:25 AM on July 4 [10 favorites]


I am truly bummed out that this did not involve genetic engineering. I want to stegosaurus, not a bunch of bones.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:34 AM on July 4 [8 favorites]


Related context: The market for dinosaur fossils is booming (paywall bypass)
The boom started in 2018 when Aguttes, a French auction house, sold the almost-complete skeleton of a carnivorous dinosaur (thought to be a relative of Allosaurus fragilis) for $2.4m at a glamorous event on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. It took off in earnest when Christie’s, a London auctioneer, sold “Stan”—one of the most complete T. rex fossils ever found—for $31.8m in 2020, a record.

...

in America, there is clear legal precedent guaranteeing that fossils discovered on private land belong to the landowner and can be legally traded. That is unusual. Besides Hell Creek, the most important fossil-bearing deposits in the world are in Qinjiang in China, the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, Campanha in Brazil and Argentine Patagonia. In all four countries, dinosaur fossils are considered the property of the state. That does not stop trade—but it does push it into the black market, where crime syndicates smuggle fossils across national borders. Given their illegality, such fossils are unlikely ever to end up in a scientist’s hands.
The article has more about how the private fossil trade affects scientific research, for bad and for good.
posted by Nelson at 7:39 AM on July 4 [3 favorites]


Scientifically valuable fossils belong in museums, where palaeontologists can access them and the general public can see them.

The only fossils that belong in private collections are those fossils that are so common that museums don't want any more of them.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 8:07 AM on July 4 [5 favorites]


The skeleton is actually from a Steganosaurus, a dinosaur that had other dinosaurs hidden inside it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:29 AM on July 4 [10 favorites]


Could there be just the tiniest little bit of DNA? Just a small small sample? Just for academic interest.
posted by sammyo at 8:34 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Scientifically valuable fossils belong in museums, where palaeontologists can access them and the general public can see them.

That is not inconsistent with private ownership. People loan them to museums the same way that they do with fine art.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:49 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


Nicolas Cage is signing up to make like five direct-to-streaming movies in a row right now.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:53 AM on July 4 [4 favorites]


Favourited for the Thagomizer reference.
posted by Phanx at 8:53 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


This has been a dream of ours for a while

Metafilter is lacking a mascot....
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:56 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


This belongs in a museum!

(If you have that kind of money, you can build your own museum.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:25 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


There's a Microsoft multimillionaire in Medina, right across Lake Washington from Seattle who has a Tyrannosaur in the living room of his lakeside mansion. As Bob Dylan once incantated, 'Money doesn't talk, it swears..."
posted by y2karl at 11:22 AM on July 4


“ Metafilter is lacking a mascot....”

I wouldn’t be so sure about that
posted by cybrcamper at 11:46 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Ooh, fair point!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:44 PM on July 4


also, dinos got arthritis [science]

According to the transference principle, I am a dinosaur.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:04 PM on July 4 [1 favorite]


What a lousy deal, kirkaracha--arthritis but no thagomizer.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 2:27 PM on July 4 [1 favorite]



That is not inconsistent with private ownership. People loan them to museums the same way that they do with fine art.


Too early to tell. If this is bought by some anonymous person and secreted away someplace it might never be seen again or even be known where it is.

This skeleton was 3d scanned. If that was available for free or at modest cost it could be 3D printed at a cost probably a couple orders of magnitude cheaper than the original. A cost of 30k is pretty accessible. Smaller scale prints, say 1/2 or 1/4, would be even cheaper and would take up a lot less space.
posted by Mitheral at 2:57 PM on July 4


(d) skeleton is haunted.
That is *so* anti-scientific. It’s well-known the lifespan of ghosts is much less than a million years.

Unless one of the 3D-printed parts caught one… Pretty sure that stuff is forty percent ghosts.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 6:11 PM on July 4 [1 favorite]


There's a Microsoft multimillionaire in Medina, right across Lake Washington from Seattle who has a Tyrannosaur in the living room of his lakeside mansion.

That's Nathan Myhrvold, notorious patent troll, and all around useless human being.
posted by fnerg at 6:36 PM on July 4 [1 favorite]


I wish I had $10 million. I'd buy that stego, 3D scan it, and print scale copies for $(a not-entirely-unaffordable-amount).

Also, thagomizers you could hang from your truck bumper.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 5:16 AM on July 5


I think this says a lot about the kind of people who buy pricey shit at Sotheby's, given that they're freaking herbivores
posted by phooky at 10:17 AM on July 4
[6 favorites +] [⚑]


There are few things more terrifying than a pissed-off large herbivore. Sounds right to me.

EDIT: Except possibly a pissed-off large herbivore with a thagomizer.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 6:31 AM on July 5


thagomizers you could hang from your truck bumper.

"Take that, tailgaters!"
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:25 AM on July 5


Jurassic truck-nuts for the Flintstone crowd.

Giggity …
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 10:33 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Last Christmas I was looking at a kid's book of dinosaurs at Barnes & Nobles as a possible gift. I noticed it identified the spikes on the stegosaurus tail as a thagomizer. I put it back on the shelf because it made no reference to the cartoon.
posted by rochrobbb at 3:44 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


That might be because it's a generally accepted informal term among paleontologists
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:55 AM on July 6


Stegosaurus skeleton sets auction record, selling for $44.6 million
A Stegosaurus skeleton has become the most valuable fossil ever sold at auction, being snapped up for $44.6 million in New York.

The dinosaur fossil was sold on Wednesday to an anonymous buyer after it was sought after by seven bidders, according to Sotheby’s, the auction house handling the sale.

The fossil, nicknamed “Apex,” smashed its pre-sale estimate, which was between $4 million and $6 million.
posted by Nelson at 9:09 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Well, it's a good thing I didn't try to scrape up my pennies, then!

Thanks for the update, Nelson.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:16 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


The Woman Who Sold the World’s Most Expensive Dinosaur , about the auctioneer and her performance.
posted by Nelson at 5:45 AM on July 20


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