A “Tyrannosaurus rex” fails at the Musée des Confluences


The skeleton of a

With its 3.7 m high and 11 meters long, “Ryker” was to be the attraction of this end of the year at Confluences. The Lyon museum had planned to exhibit, from December 16, a tyrannosaurus rex unearthed in the State of Montana, USA, and on loan from a private collector. “A scientifically first-rate specimen”, boasted, ten days ago, in the newspaper 20 minutes, Hélène Lafont-Couturier, the director of the establishment.

Patatras, on November 23, by a brief press release, she chose to suspend her reception “as a precaution, pending further research”. The deadline, specifies the Musée des Confluences, must allow “to ensure that the presentation of Ryker responds to the values ​​and ethics of the establishment, as well as to its scientific and cultural project”. Contacted by The world, the museum declines to comment further at this stage.

By a curious coincidence, a few weeks earlier, Christie’s had canceled the sale, scheduled for November 30 in Hong Kong, of another T Rex, baptized “Shen”, estimated 15 million to 25 million dollars (14.4 million to 24 million euros). According to the New York Times, the auction house withdrew the specimen after doubts were raised by the Black Hills Geological Research Institute in South Dakota.

The researchers, in fact, had noted disturbing similarities between “Shen” and “Stan”, a T Rex of legend, auctioned in 2020 for the trifle of 31.8 million dollars. Black Hills, which had studied the animal, retains the intellectual property rights, which allow it to market painted polyurethane casts of the skeleton. One of these casts would thus have served to fill in the gaps in “Shen”.

The must of the mega-rich

Like the Greek amphoras that emerged from the ground, the dinosaurs that flock to the market are rarely intact. Most have been restored up to 50%, sometimes with a lot of disparate casts and bones. Not enough to curb the appetite of buyers. The predators of the Jurassic era are now the must of the mega-rich, who have found in these impressive trophies enough to feed their excess. Hollywood, in particular, loves it, pushing the prices to excess.

Scientists, on the other hand, take a very dim view of this outbreak. “Some paleontologists find it preferable that dinosaur skeletons be destroyed by natural elements rather than collected by private individuals, grinds the fossil expert Iacopo Briano, willingly exaggerating. Others, on the other hand, are ready to open the dialogue. »

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