The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

National News

November 19, 2013

'Montana Dueling Dinos' to sell at NYC auction

NEW YORK — It started with a dinosaur pelvis protruding through the rock at a Montana ranch. Three more months of chiseling and digging revealed a remarkable discovery: two nearly complete, fossilized dinosaur skeletons of a carnivore and herbivore, their tails touching.

A pushed-in skull and teeth of one dinosaur embedded in the other suggested a mortal confrontation between them.

Clayton Phipps, a fossil hunter who made the discovery on his neighbor's land in 2006 in the fossil-rich Hell Creek Formation, dubbed them the "Montana Dueling Dinosaurs."

Phipps and the ranch owners have put them up for sale at Bonhams auction house on Tuesday for an estimated $7 million to $9 million, a price out of the reach of most museums.

The auction record for a dinosaur fossil is slightly more than $8.36 million, which was set in October 1997 for a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that sold at Sotheby's. Known as Sue, the skeleton is on display at The Field Museum in Chicago.

The fossils are believed to be a Nanotyrannus lancensis, a smaller relative of the T. rex, and a newly discovered species of Chasmosaurine ceratopsian, a close relative of the Triceratops, which lived at the end of the Cretaceous age some 65 million years ago.

"I am just the lucky guy that happened to stumble out there and find this dinosaur," Phipps said. "I really appreciate the academic paleontologists that understand the importance of what us amateurs bring to the mix. I am hoping that it will be professionally and academically studied. ... I want to know more about them."

They were found fully articulated with pockets of skin tissue attached. They have been separated into four large blocks because of their total 40-ton weight and are on display in a plaza adjacent to Bonhams.

Kirk Johnson, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, called the dinosaurs "a significant discovery."

"They are a superb pair of specimens and are certainly of great scientific and display value," he said. "This pair is certainly a unique find" for the Hell Creek Formation.

Thomas Lindgren, Bonhams co-consulting director of natural history, said scientists will have to determine whether the ceratopsian was indeed a new species, but either way, it would "still be one of the rarest ceratopsians of all time."

"It is either the most complete and oldest triceratops that had lived at the end of the Cretaceous or it's a brand-new species," he said.

But Jack Horner, a paleontologist at Montana State University, called the promoters' claims a means "to enhance the price of the specimen."

"These fossils are not worth anything because they were collected to sell and not specifically for their science," he said.

Johnson, who plans to see the fossils before the auction, said the skeletons would need to be extracted from their enclosing sandstone and compared to other skeletons in various museums to determine their "actual completeness."

Finding a carnivore and herbivore together is "very unusual," said Johnson, whose museum is scheduled to open a new dinosaur hall in 2019 but has no plans to bid on the skeletons.

Phipps said he hopes a wealthy buyer donates the skeletons to a public institution, similar to how The Field Museum came to own Sue, the T. rex discovered in South Dakota in 1990.

"Any time you have a complete skeleton you can do things that can help you understand the biology of the species," said Pete Mokozicky, associate curator of dinosaurs at The Field Museum.

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • Police: GPS helped solve, didn't deter killings

    GPS technology helped police link two convicted sex offenders to the rapes and killings of at least four women in California, but the mother of one victim said Tuesday that the monitoring system should have done more to prevent the crimes in the first place.

    April 15, 2014

  • US stocks rise as investors close out quarter

     Stocks rose broadly in midday trading Monday as the market headed for its fifth straight quarterly gain. Microsoft led the technology sector higher.

    March 31, 2014

  • US stock market heads for a solid weekly gain

     The stock market looked ready to finish off a turbulent week with solid gains Friday. Investors brushed aside concerns about higher interest rates and trouble with Russia. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was on track to close at an all-time high.

    March 21, 2014

  • Big changes ahead for frequent fliers on Delta

    Delta Air Lines is making fundamental changes to its frequent flier program and will reward those who buy its priciest tickets, as opposed to those who fly the most miles.

    February 26, 2014

  • Burglary suspect arrested after leaving wallet

    Authorities say a teenager who burglarized a Dallas police officer's apartment, taking his service weapon and ammunition, was apprehended after he lost his wallet as he fled.

    February 18, 2014

  • Rescue delayed for icebound ship in Antarctica

    The latest attempt to rescue passengers on board a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice for more than a week was delayed again today after sea ice prevented a barge from reaching one of the rescue vessels.

    January 2, 2014

  • Santa's sleigh delayed after snags at UPS, FedEx

    Santa's sleigh didn't make it in time for Christmas for some this year due to shipping problems at UPS and FedEx.

    December 25, 2013

  • Dueling Dinos_Brem.jpg 'Montana Dueling Dinos' to sell at NYC auction

    "Montana Dueling Dinosaurs" are up for sale at Bonhams auction house on Tuesday for an estimated $7 million to $9 million, a price out of the reach of most museums.

    November 19, 2013 1 Photo

  • Police: Spy in bag probably died by accident

    A spy whose naked, decomposing body was found inside a padlocked gym bag at his apartment likely died in an accident with no one else involved, British police said Wednesday — a tentative conclusion that is unlikely to calm conspiracy theories around the bizarre case.

    November 13, 2013

  • 2 human rights groups criticize US drone program

    The United States on Tuesday defended drone strikes targeting al-Qaida operatives and others it deems enemies, rejecting reports by two human-rights groups questioning the legality of strikes they asserted have killed or wounded scores of civilians in Yemen and Pakistan.

    October 22, 2013

AP Video
Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston
Stocks
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.