“Samson” the T. Rex Needs a Good Home

There's nothing like a 40-foot-long, 7.5-ton dinosaur to make an impression on dinner guests.

The skeletal remains of "Samson," a Tyrannosaurus rex, are up for auction in Las Vegas.

Bidders failed to reach the minimum price Saturday of $6 million, so there's still time to snag the 66 million-year-old conversation piece.

Just try to find a better deal on a T. rex. A similar fossil sold for $8.3 million in 1997 and is now housed at the Field Museum in Chicago. That dinosaur, named "Sue," is 42 feet long and has more than 200 bones.

Samson's 170 fossilized bones were found 17 years ago on a South Dakota ranch. It's considered the third most complete T. rex skeleton ever discovered and has the "finest skull" of all T. rexes ever found, according to Tom Lindgren, natural history director for auction house Bonhams & Butterfields.

The auction house is in negotiations with a number of institutions and individuals, Lindgren said. He said he's confident a sale will be completed in the next couple of weeks.

The highest bid at Saturday's auction at the Venetian hotel-casino was $3.7 million.

Lindgren said the owner had sought to sell the dinosaur as soon as possible, leaving potential bidders scrambling to quickly come up with the money.

"A number of bidders are still trying to get their financing in line," he said. "I think we'll have a home for her pretty soon."

The female dinosaur's lower jaw was found by the son of a rancher in 1987, and the rest of its bones were excavated in 1992, Lindgren said. It was sold twice to private owners and is now owned by an American whom Lindgren wouldn't name.

About 50 other lots fetched $1.76 million Saturday. World records included $458,000 for a duckbilled dinosaur, $440,000 for a pair of Einiosaurus skeletons and $422,000 for a 17-foot-long fossilized fish found in Kansas, Lindgren said.

"This was the most successful auction we've ever had," he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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