For sale on eBay: what’s claimed to be “maybe the only” young Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered for $2.95 million. Paleontologists decried the sale, saying that the specimen’s cost was artificially inflating the cost of other valuable fossils. “Only casts and other replicas of vertebrate fossils should be traded, not the fossils themselves,” an open letter from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Bethesda, Maryland. read. “Scientifically important fossils like the juvenile tyrannosaur are clues to our collective natural heritage and deserve to be held in public trust.”
The 68-million-year-old baby T. rex, dubbed Son of Sampson, was found in Montana in 2013 by Alan Detrich and his brother. Detrich initially loaned the fossil to the Kansas University Natural History Museum, planning to loan the specimen after research. Detrich recently posted the fossil on eBay, forcing the museum to pull the fossil on exhibition and return it back to Detrich, who told Science Magazine he regretted launching the eBay sale without notifying the museum first. “It could have been handled a lot better, and I take full responsibility,” he said, before saying he was legally allowed to sell the bones. While paleontologists are upset, many believe the bones might not sell because they are incomplete and shattered in parts. “The asking price is just absurd,” one researcher said.