A mysterious benefactor will be selling the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skull at an auction next month, for an estimated £17million.
The skull, dating 76m years old, nicknamed Maximums, is being sold at a live auction on December 9 in New York, Sotheby's has said.
The skull weighs more than 91kg and measures two metres long, rivalling those held in museums and is expected to sell for between $15 and $20m (£13-£17m).
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It was found in the "world capital for T-Rexes", in Harding county, South Dakota, USA, where the skeletons of T-Rexes Sue and Stan were also found.
Sue was the first dinosaur sold at an auction and fetched $8.3m (£7.25m) in 1997, while Stan sold for $31.8m (£27.75m) in 2020.
Most of the remains of Maximus were destroyed by erosion, but according to Henry Galiano, a paleontologist consultant for the auction house, “this T rex fossil is an extraordinary discovery".
He explained: "Unearthed in one of the most concentrated areas for T-Rex remains, the skull retained much of its original shape and surface characteristics with even the smallest and most delicate bones intact, with an extremely high degree of scientific integrity.
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"Without the work of experienced field palaeontologists, who carefully collected and preserved this skull, it may have eroded away and been lost to science forever.”
The skull has two large puncture holes, which according to Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby's head of science and popular culture, means that the animal had been in a fight, probably with another T-Rex.
She said: "We don’t know that this is what caused the death of this animal, but we can tell that it did have a major battle during its lifetime."
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