From Jurassic Era to Auction Block: Dinosaur Skeleton ‘Barry’ Goes Under The Hammer
A 150-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Makes an Appearance
An extraordinary specimen from the late Jurassic period, a dinosaur skeleton known as ‘Barry,’ is set to go under the hammer at an auction in Paris next month. The dinosaur belongs to the Camptosaurus genus and is believed to have roamed the earth about 150 million years ago. The skeleton was initially discovered in the U.S. state of Wyoming in the early 2000s.
‘Barry’ – A Well-Preserved Camptosaurus
The dinosaur, named after paleontologist Barry James, who first restored it, measures 2.1 meters (6.9 feet) tall and 5 meters (16.4 feet) long. Remarkably well-preserved, about 90% of Barry’s skull, including the teeth, is still intact. The rest of the skeleton is about 80% complete, making it a rare find. Italian laboratory Zoic, which acquired Barry last year, has conducted further restoration work on the dinosaur.
A Price Tag of 1.2 Million Euros
The well-preserved specimen is expected to fetch up to 1.2 million euros ($1.28 million) at the auction, scheduled for October 20. This impressive price tag reflects the rarity and intactness of the specimen. Barry will be displayed to the public in mid-October ahead of the sale.
Dinosaur Skeletons – A Rare Commodity on the Art Market
Dinosaur specimens are a rarity on the art market, with worldwide sales occurring only a couple of times a year. The auction house handling the sale, Drouot, has a track record of selling dinosaur skeletons. In 2022, the skeleton of a 150-million-year-old dinosaur named Zephyr was sold for approximately 673,000 euros. In 2021, the skeleton of a 66-million-year-old dinosaur named Big John was sold for approximately 6.6 million euros.
Camptosaurus – An Ancestor of Duck-Billed Dinosaurs
Barry is an adult specimen of Camptosauridae, belonging to the Iguanodontidae family, one of the first groups of dinosaurs discovered. The Camptosaurus was a plant-eating dinosaur that walked either on its hind legs or all four limbs. According to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, it’s also an ancestor of duck-billed dinosaurs.
The Ongoing Debate Among Paleontologists
There have been several theories and debates among paleontologists regarding the mode of locomotion and balance points of iguanodontids. Questions about whether they were bipedal or quadrupedal, the position of their tails, and how their natural environment influenced the development of the species have been the subject of discussion throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
Barry – An Exceptional Find
Barry is indeed an exceptional find, given that ornithopod dinosaurs represent only about 14% of the specimens found. As far as dinosaur skeletons go, Barry, being composed of more than 80 percent original bone, ranks among the oldest and most complete. This rarity is expected to attract considerable attention at the auction, potentially fetching up to 1.2 million euros.
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