We won’t lie to you, we were a little disappointed when we couldn’t get the money together to buy that clown motel out next to the old miners’ graveyard. But now a new, even more exciting way to fritter away a mountain of cash that we don’t actually have has come along: Anybody want to pool some funds and buy the skeleton of a previously undiscovered species of dinosaur? C’mon, we’d get to name it and everything!
The Guardian reports on an auction set to take place inside the Eiffel Tower in Paris next month (how very Roger Moore-era James Bond), where the skeleton of a unique species of therapod (i.e., three-toed dinosaur) that was dug up in Wyoming about five years ago will be up for sale. The British paleontologists who discovered the skeleton initially thought it was an allosaur, but closer inspection revealed that its bones and teeth were inconsistent with that particular species. The specimen is about 70 percent complete, which is very good for this type of skeleton, and dates from the late Jurassic period; it stands 8.7 meters (28.5 feet) long and 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) high, so whoever ends up taking the thing home will have to have a lot of extra space to store it.
Having the big-ass, remarkably complete skeleton of an ancient predator in your living room is cool enough, but as dinosaur expert Prof. Eric Mickeler, who’s overseeing the auction, tells the newspaper: “The rule for all scientific discoveries that are confirmed to be new, the person who owns it can give it its scientific name. It can be the name of a company or a person. Then they just add an ‘-us’ on the end.” So that means, if we all chip in a few bucks and buy this thing, we can name it anything we want, as long as it has an “-us” at the end. We’re thinking maybe a Twitter poll, once we’ve narrowed down a few good candidates?
The skeleton is expected to fetch around €1.2 million ($1.4 million USD) at the auction, which, honestly, really isn’t that much, in the grand scheme of things. (A portion of the proceeds will go to conservation groups like Sea Shepherd and the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre in South Africa, if that helps.) The auction is set to take place in Paris on June 4, so we have a couple of weeks to get the money together—no questions asked.