A skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex that was purchased for $32 million at Christie’s in 2020 will be displayed as the centerpiece of a museum in Abu Dhabi that is scheduled to open in 2025.
An anonymous bidder over the phone with a Christie’s London specialist paid $27.5 million for the 67-million-year-old skeleton that has been given the name “Stan.” This purchase set a record for the highest sum ever paid for a fossil. “Stan” After factoring in the premium, the total price came to a whopping 32 million dollars, making it more expensive than a great number of works by contemporary artists that will be put up for auction. The sale took place at the same time as an increase in the trafficking of ancient fossils, which prompted scientists to voice their concerns about the rising desire among private purchasers searching for natural treasures.
The previous record for a dinosaur fossil was set in 1997 when the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago paid $8.4 million for “Sue.” The sale of “Stan” broke that record, making it the most expensive dinosaur fossil ever sold. At the time of the sale of “Stan,” the destination of the priceless fossil was a mystery; it was unclear whether the purchaser was a private individual or an establishment of some kind. Some academics were afraid that if the artefact that had been the subject of so much investigation was sold to a private collector, it would no longer be accessible to researchers.
“Stan” was only made available for purchase in 2018 after a judge ordered it to settle a legal dispute between two owners of the digging firm that discovered it in North Dakota. “Stan” was named after one of the owners, “Stanley,” who was a fictional character. After that, Christie’s looked for individual collectors in the United States who had connections to natural history institutions in order to find potential purchasers for their items.
According to data from the US Trade Department that were looked at by National Geographic, the fossil was transported from New York to the United Arab Emirates in the month of May 2021. According to a statement that was released by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism on Wednesday, “Stan” will be included in the new Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi that is currently being constructed on Saadiyat Island. The museum will cover a total area of 377,000 square feet. In addition, the museum’s collection includes a meteorite that was unearthed in Australia that is 7 billion years old.
The unidentified museum will become part of a network of institutions that will be located in the Saadiyat Cultural District. These institutions will include the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Zayed National Museum, and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, both of which are scheduled to open in the near future. The project is an element of the local government’s overall strategy to broaden the cultural landscape of the city. HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, the chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism, declared in a statement that the agency’s objective is “to make Abu Dhabi the place for research, collaboration, and discovery.”
Image courtesy of Christie’s