An 85-million-year-old pteranodon sold at auction for $3.9 million

A fossil of a pteranodon of about 85 million years was sold this Wednesday at an auction in New York by $3.93 millionreported the Sotheby’s house on its website.

The price, despite being high, was below the starting price that Sotheby’s had calculated in its estimates, between 4 and 6 million dollars.

It is one of the most spectacular fossils for being a flying reptile with a huge beak and a skull pointed back, with two long wings in the form of membranes, one of the most sought after pieces in museums and paleontological collections.

The skeleton of this prehistoric species from the Late Cretaceous was found in 2002 on private property (known as the Niobrara Formation) in Logan County, Kansas.

The specimen sold today, believed to be an adult male, had a 6-meter wingspan between its wings, while its body measured 2.9 meters long, from the top of its skull to its legs.

107 original skeletal bones were preserved, including almost complete two wings, shoulder blades, legs, pelvis, and vertebral column; the rest (including the spectacular peak, although that is not mentioned by Sotheby’s) was reconstructed using 3D techniques.

A year ago now, Sotheby’s sold a dinosaur fossil (a gorgosaurus) from the Cretaceous for 6.1 million dollars, much more than what was obtained today, but not close to the 31.8 million obtained by a Tyrannosaurus Rex of almost 4 meters of something by 12 from the head to the tip of the tail, sold in 2020 at Christie’s for 31.8 million dollars. So that price quintupled the estimates.

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