An almost 40-million-year-old skeleton belonging to what is commonly referred to as a saber-toothed tiger sold for nearly $ 70,000, a year after it was found on an American ranch.
The skeleton, about 120 centimeters (almost four feet) long, was recovered by a private collector in just one minute at an auction in Geneva on Tuesday.
The original bones are those of a Hoplophoneus – not technically cats, they are an extinct genus of the Nimravidae family and once stalked the plains of North America.
These extinct predatory mammals are commonly referred to as saber-toothed tigers.
A Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth that cost just over $ 6,000 was also on sale, while an 85cm-long fin from a mosasaur – a marine reptile that in the Cretaceous period was at the top of the food chain under -marine – was purchased for almost $ 8,000.
A 75 million year old ammolite – an organic opal-like gemstone in shades of red and orange – measuring 40cm long by 36cm wide remained unsold because the reserve price was not met.
Debate rages on as to the right balance between the scientific value of these papers and their value on the open market.
Some paleontologists insist that animal or plant fossils are not decorative objects for collectors, but witnesses to the evolution of life on Earth and therefore scientific articles that should be studied and then shared with the public in museums.
“I am for museums, but I am also for the objects that live among us; for there to be collectors, for coins to be bought and sold – that’s what brings culture to life. ”
© 2020 AFP