The 68 million-year-old skeleton of a baby Tyrannosaurus rex has been listed for sale on eBay by the man who discovered it.
Professional fossil hunter Alan Detrich is asking $2.95 million (£2.26m) for the skeleton, which he describes as "Most Likely the Only BABY T-Rex in the World!"
"It has a 15 FOOT long Body and a 21" SKULL with Serrated Teeth!" the listing states .
"This Rex was very a very dangerous meat eater… Histology shows the specimen to be approximately 4 years old upon death."
Detrich discovered the skeleton on private land in Montana in 2013. He lent it to the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, where it has been on display since 2017.
However, Detrich has angered scientists with his surprise decision to put the skeleton up for auction.
The Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology (SVP) has published an open letter , expressing concern that the fossil – which represents a "unique part of life's past" – may be lost from the public trust.
The letter also criticises Detrich for using the specimen's scientific importance, including its exhibition status at the University of Kansas, as part of his advertising strategy.
"These events undermine the scientific process for studying past life as well as the prospect for future generations to share the natural heritage of our planet," the letter states.
The University of Kansas said it was unaware of Detrich's plans to put the skeleton up for auction. The specimen has now been removed from exhibit.
"The KU Natural History Museum does not sell or mediate the sale of specimens to private individuals," the museum’s director, Leonard Krishtalka, said in a statement .
"We have asked that the owner remove any association with us from his sale listing."
So far no one has expressed interest in paying the asking price, although there is the option to make an offer, and the item has more than 1000 people "watching" it.
However, it is unlikely that any museum will have the money to buy it, meaning it will most likely end up in the hands of a private collector.
"Museums seldom have the budget for purchase of increasingly expensive privately collected specimens," the SVP said in its letter.
It added that this make it "even less likely that the fossil will find its way into a permanent repository where it can be added to the scientific body of evidence about tyrannosaurs".
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