Dino Skeleton That Inspired Jurassic Park Sells for $12.4M



“Hector” has been sold. The skeleton of the Deinonychus antirrhopus dinosaur species, said to be the inspiration for the velociraptors in 1993’s Jurassic Park, was auctioned off by Christie’s on Thursday to an undisclosed buyer for $12.4 million, more than double the price the auction house thought it would go for, reports the New York Times. Consisting of 126 authentic fossil bones—the rest, including the skull, have been reconstructed—and said to be in a “remarkable state of preservation,” Hector is “the single most complete specimen of Deinonychus ever found,” per Christie’s.

The skeleton, dating back 110 million years to the early Cretaceous Period, was dug up about 10 years ago on private property in Montana by two amateur paleontologists, Jack and Roberta Owen, who excavated the pieces using a scalpel and a toothbrush. They then sold the remains to Jared Hudson, a commercial paleontologist—and Jack Owen says he didn’t get anywhere near what the skeleton sold for at the auction house. “I had no idea it would end up at Christie’s,” he tells the Times.

The paper touches on the irritation of dino scientists who think such fossil finds should go straight to public institutions, not into the hands of private individuals. “Vertebrate fossils [belong] in museums,” Jessica Theodor of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology says. “If it’s in private hands, that person dies, their estate sells the specimen and the information gets lost.” There are only two other complete Deinonychus skeletons in existence, both at museums, per CNN. Read much more about Hector, and the Deinonychus (“terrible claw” in ancient Greek) in general, here. (Read more dinosaurs stories.)

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