Record T. Rex tooth offered at auction just months after discovery

These days it doesn’t take long for fresh-to-market collectibles to be ushered into an auction. It looks like the same is true with important fossils such as this massive Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth.

Discovered only weeks ago in Garfield County, Mont., a 5 1/8-inch tooth is one of the largest T. Rex specimens ever found. Work began immediately to meticulously prepare, clean and stabilize the tooth. It will be offered by Bonhams at its Dec. 11 Natural History auction. Bonhams believes the tooth could sell for $25,000 to $30,000.

“The tooth is more massive than any of the teeth of the well-known T. rex Stan, and is possibly larger than those of Sue, the famous T. rex residing in the Field Museum, Chicago,” said Thomas Lindgren, co-consulting director of Natural History at Bonhams. “The newly found T. rex tooth represents the ‘fresh-to-the-market’ approach of the Natural History Department of Bonhams.”

The tooth is from the upper left portion of the mouth of a T. rex. It is the first or second maxillary tooth – the area in the T. rex’s mouth with the largest teeth. The crown is extremely large.

Other highlights of the December sale include one of the largest saber-toothed cat skulls ever offered at auction, a gigantic Machairodus giganteus skull, measuring almost 18 inches; the specimen, estimated at $50,000-60,000, also includes several vertebrae.

The skull of a gigantic Cretaceous fossil fish found in Kansas, a Xiphactinus audax (est. $6,000-8,000) will also be offered. This apex predator, with a skull measuring 30 inches, menaced the intercontinental seaway that divided North America as T. rex and the other huge dinosaurs roamed the landmasses.

On a more aesthetic note, an exquisite fossil palm flower from the famed Green River Formation of Wyoming will be made available. Estimated at $45,000-55,000, it is a spectacular example of the rarely-seen flowers from the palm trees of this 51-million-year-old Eocene geologic formation, reflecting the subtropical climate of an area that is now high desert.

-Eric.


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