Christie's Pulls Tyrannosaurus Rex Skeleton From Upcoming Auction
The auction house says the specimen, named Shen, needs “further study.”
The specimen, named Shen, was expected to bring in between $15 million and $25 million USD. However, experts have risen questions about the number of replica bones used, noting it may need further review.
“After consultation with the consignor of the Tyrannosaurus rex scheduled for sale on 30 November in Hong Kong, Christie’s has decided to withdraw the lot. The consignor has now decided to loan the specimen to a museum for public display,” a spokesman for the auction house said in a statement, adding that the specimen would “benefit from further study.”
Shen was marketed as the first T. rex skeleton set to make an appearance at an auction in Asia, described in press releases as “a rare, scientifically-important Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex) skeleton, researched by leading paleontologists from global institutions.”
As reported by The New York Times, the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, a fossil company in South Dakota, noted that there were similarities between Shen and Stan, which is another T. rex skeleton sold by Christie’s back in 2020 for a record-breaking $31.8 million USD. Peter Larson, the president of the company, said he noticed similarities between the two when he first saw images of Shen, most notably the holes found in the lower left jaw that were known to be unique to Stan. “They’re using Stan to sell a dinosaur that’s not Stan. It’s very misleading,” he told the NY Times.
The catalog for Christie’s upcoming sales notes that none of Shen’s teeth are original. Typically, nearly all dinosaur skeletons are incomplete and usually require casts of other specimens. A skeleton is determined as fake or original depending on the amount of original bone used in the specimen. Shen was described to have “54% represented by bone density.”