Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 21st 2013 Contents B16
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, November 21, 2013
It started with a dinosaur pelvis
protruding through the rock at a Mon-
tana ranch. Three more months of
chiseling and digging revealed a
remarkable discovery: two nearly
complete, fossilised dinosaur skeletons
of a carnivore and herbivore, their
A pushed-in skull and teeth of one
dinosaur embedded in the other sug-
gested a mortal confrontation between
them. Clayton Phipps, a fossil hunter
who made the discovery on his neigh-
bour 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 auc-
tion house on Tuesday for an estimated
US$7 million to US$9 million, a price
out of the reach of most museums.
The auction record for a dinosaur
fossil is slightly more than US$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 Nan-
otyrannus 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 hap-
pened 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 Smith-
sonian s National Museum of Natural
History, called the dinosaurs "a signif-
"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
Thomas Lindgren, Bonhams co-con-
sulting 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
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 insti-
tution, similar to how The Field Muse-
um came to own Sue, the T rex dis-
covered in South Dakota in 1990.
"Any time you have a complete skele-
ton you can do things that can help
you understand the biology of the
species," said Pete Mokozicky, associate
curator of dinosaurs at The Field Muse-
Rare dinosaur fossils
to sell at NYC auction
A nanotyrannus lancensis fossil is displayed in New York. Two fossilised dinosaur
skeletons found on a Montana ranch in 2006 are coming up for sale in New York
City. The nearly complete skeletons are billed as the Montana Dueling Dinosaurs.
Dulce Sabor de HNC, a group of young cooks from Holy Name Convent were the winners of the inaugural
Hidden Chef intercol cooking challenge. The convent girls won the competition which was hosted by YING
Factor group earlier this month. Another HNC team, Wholly Delish placed second while Diego Martin
Central Secondary's Joueurs d'equipe placed third and South East PoS Secondary's South East Soup-a-
Stars placed fourth.
HIDDEN CHEF WINNERS
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