An unknown buyer has purchased a diplodocus skeleton for £400,000.
The skeleton of the female diplodocus went on sale in Billingshurst yesterday (Wednesday, November 29).
It was the first sale of a large dinosaur skeleton at auction in the UK, at Summers Place Auctions as part of its Evolution sale.
Purchased by an unknown institution, it is not known whether the skeleton will end up at a British museum or be shipped overseas.
The Natural History Museum had ruled itself out of bidding.
The massive 17-metre specimen is a diplodocus longus, one of the most iconic of dinosaurs and among the largest animals ever to have walked on earth, some 150 million years ago.
Relatively complete diplodocus skeletons are extremely rare and this specimen joins only a handful of other known examples.
Such is its rarity, even the famous diplodocus ‘Dippy’ in the Natural History Museum, London, is a plaster copy taken from an original in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which was itself composed from at least two different fragmentary skeletons.
This female diplodocus, Misty as she was nicknamed, carried an estimated price tag of £400,000 to £600,000.
Misty was found by the children of the celebrated dinosaur hunter Raimund Albersdoerfer near the famous, privately-owned Dana quarry in Wyoming.
Discovered almost entirely intact, the skeleton was painstakingly prepped at a leading fossil laboratory in Holland before being assembled in the UK.
The Evolution sale was curated by renowned natural history expert and author Errol Fuller, whose most recent book, Drawn from Paradise, co-authored with Sir David Attenborough, charts the discovery and history of birds of paradise and the art associated with them.