“Hector” is almost 100 million years old, and his fossils sold for more than $12 million at Christie’s auction.
According to Christie, Hector is the most complete Deinonychus antirrhopus skeleton ever discovered. The specimen, discovered in Montana in 2013, dates from the early Cretaceous era, between 115 and 108 million years ago. The item, which consists of 126 genuine fossils on a custom-built frame, is in an “exceptional condition of preservation,” according to the auction house.
According to Christie’s, the lot was predicted to fetch between $4 million and $6 million.
Instead, it fetched a whopping $12.4 million on Wednesday.
According to the auction house, the 9-foot-long Deinonychus, which inhabited western North America, was named for its unusual and lethal claw on each foot. Deinonychus is Greek for “terrible claw.”
“Shaped like a sickle and raised up off the ground when not in use to retain its fatal sharpness, this claw was utilized to disembowel its prey,” Christie’s explained.
Fans of the popular film series “Jurassic Park,” in which scheming velociraptors slaughter park visitors and battle a Tyrannosaurus rex, may be familiar with the devastating talon. In actuality, Velociraptor was a little turkey-sized dinosaur that lived mostly in Mongolia. According to Christie’s, filmmakers acquired its name but most of its characteristics from the bigger Deinonychus.
Hector, the only complete Deinonychus skeleton ever discovered, has been privately held since his discovery. Museums own the other two full Deinonychus skeletons, one of which is on exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History.
Dinosaur fossils, particularly those of “celebrity” species such as those portrayed in “Jurassic Park,” have garnered high prices at auction in recent decades. A T.rex skeleton sold for a world record-breaking $31.8 million in 2020, while the world’s biggest Triceratops skeleton sold for $7.7 million in 2021.