Paleontologists are criticising a man who’s trying to sell the skeleton of a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex for $US2.95 million ($NZ4.4m) on eBay.
The specimen, estimated to have died at 4 years old, has a 15-foot long body and 21-inch skull, according to the listing, and is “Most Likely the Only BABY T-Rex in the World!”
Fossil hunter Alan Detrich is hawking the 68 million-year-old skeleton that was first unearthed in 2013 in Montana, US, the Guardian reported. Detrich loaned the fossil to the University of Kansas Natural History Museum in 2017, according to the newspaper.
The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology released a letter expressing concern that scientists will lose access to the fossil and criticising Detrich for trying to use the museum in his sales pitch.
“Museums seldom have the budget for purchase of increasingly expensive privately collected specimens, thus making it even less likely that the fossil will find its way into a permanent repository where it can be added to the scientific body of evidence about tyrannosaurs,” the letter read.
“Mr. Detrich has tried to capitalise on the museum’s good faith by using the exhibition and scientific attention as selling points.”
Leonard Krishtalka, director of the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas, released a statement clarifying that the museum “does not sell or mediate the sale of specimens to private individuals.”
“Accordingly, the specimen on exhibit-loan to us have been removed from exhibit and is being returned to its owner,” the statement continued.
“We have asked that the owner remove any association with us from his sale listing.”