This listing is not a costume, a statue of a T. rex, or a joke. Professional fossil hunter Alan Detrich discovered and excavated the fossilized partial infant Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton on private land in Montana in 2013. Now he's listed it for sale on eBay for $2,950,000. With free shipping. The fossils were on display at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum at the time of the listing, but have been removed and returned to Detrich, who had loaned them out. Paleontologists have decried the sale, saying losing this specimen to a private owner will add difficulty to their attempts to determine whether these small fossils are from T. rex young or a different species.
The Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology (SVP) has criticised both Detrich, who will be taking an important specimen outside the reach of scientific study, and the university, for helping to inflate the price of the fossil, acting as a shop window for professional buyers.
In an open letter published last week, SVP’s members said that it was regrettable that the fossil was exhibited before it could be studied. “That action, which brought the fossil to the attention of hundreds or thousands of visitors, potentially enhanced its commercial value,” they wrote. “Museums seldom have the budget for purchase of increasingly expensive privately collected specimens.”