$25 million auction of T. rex skeleton called off at the last minute over replica bone controversy


The  T. rex specimen, known as Shen, on display at a gallery in Hong Kong.  (Image credit: Christie’s Images Ltd. [2022])

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The sale of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, which was expected to fetch up to $25 million, has been controversially called off shortly before the behemoth’s bones were due to hit the auction block. The cancellation comes after experts raised concerns that a significant proportion of the bones are actually replicas from another famous T. rex skeleton, which was not disclosed by the auction house.

The T. rex skeleton, known as Shen, was uncovered at the Hell Creek Formation in Montana and dates back to between 66 million and 68 million years ago during the Cretacous period (145 million to 66 million years ago). Shen is around 40 feet (12.2 meters) long, 15 feet (4.6 m) tall and 7 feet (2.1 m) wide, and it weighs in at around 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg). The dinosaur king was due to be auctioned off in Hong Kong on Nov. 30 by the U.K.-based auction house Christie’s, and would have been the first T. rex to be sold in Asia.

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