Dueling dinosaurs? 2 fossil skeletons to be auctioned

Two dinosaur skeletons will go on the auction block in New York City on Tuesday, but the sale of such a rare find is dividing the scientific community.

At the center of the debate are two fossilized skeletons, known as "The Dueling Dinosaurs." The nearly complete remains are of a large plant eater and a smaller meat eater. They were found locked together, leading some to believe they perished after a violent death match 68 million years ago.

One dinosaur's skull is actually cracked -- a blow that has led Clayton Phipps to believe that's what probably killed it.

Phipps discovered the relics on a private ranch in Montana in 2006. An amateur dinosaur hunter, Phipps says the find was so rare, he was met with skepticism from the scientific community. He said, "I contacted several of the major U.S. museums personally, and I think (they thought), 'Yeah right, this guy doesn't have what he says he has'."

So when Bonhams Auction House expressed interest, Phipps was ready to listen. He said, "We want to do the right thing, and try to get it where it really belongs."

Asked if that's in a museum, he said, "Well, that would be the ultimate."

But with an auction, there's no guarantee as to where the specimen will end up. Kirk Johnson, director of the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History, says that at this point, any claims made about the dinosaurs are based on speculation. He said, "It looks like a great fossil, but it really remains for the scientific work to be done for us to know that. And the scientific work will only be done if this specimen ends up at a museum. If it goes to a private collection, it will be removed from the public trust forever."

The fossilized pair are expected to sell for up to $9 million. Once the purchase is complete, the newly-discovered relic might once again disappear for many years to come.

Watch Elaine Qujano's full report above.

Comments

Follow Us

The Newsroom