The largest fossilized triceratops ever discovered by paleontologists has been sold to a private, anonymous U.S. collector for the mammoth price of $7.74 million. The sale, conducted at the Drouot auction house in Paris on Thursday, shot well past the expected $1.75 million figure. The first bones belonging to ‘Big John,’ a triceratops who roamed what is now South Dakota more than 66 million years ago, were discovered in 2014. The skeleton is over 26 feet long. Its skull, which showed signs of having been battered by another triceratops, stretches nearly 9 feet.
The skeleton, which is more than 60 percent complete, was well beyond the budget of most museums. “We can’t compete,” the director of the Toulouse Museum of Natural History said, according to France 24. He added that even the initial asking price represented 20 to 25 years of his acquisitions budget. The ‘Big John’ sale, however, still fell short of the highest bid ever made for dinosaur remains—the $31.8 million paid for a Tyrannosaurus rex in New York last year.