Description

    THE ALLOSAURUS, "DRACULA" - MOUNTED SKELETON
    Allosaurus "jimmadseni"
    Upper Jurassic Period, Kimmeridgian Stage, 155 million years old
    Morrison Formation
    Dana Quarry, Ten Sleep, Washakie County, Wyoming, USA

    The Official State Fossil of Utah, the Allosaurus was a large theropod that flourished primarily in North America during the Upper Jurassic Period, 155-145 million years ago. Long recognized in popular culture, it bears the distinction of being one of the first dinosaurs to be depicted on the silver screen, the apex predator of the 1912 novel and 1925 cinema adaptation of Conan Doyle's The Lost World.

    Allosaurus is characterized in having a large head on a short neck, a broad rib-cage creating a barrel chest, small three-fingered forelimbs, large powerful hind limbs with clawed feet, and a long tail to act as a counter-balance. It averaged 28 feet in length and 2.5 tons in weight, with estimates putting the largest at up to 43 feet long. Its massive bulk was augmented with a mouth full of knife-like teeth, hand claws like daggers and foot claws like meat hooks, which it used to attack almost any kind of prey, from the giant sauropods to the more manageable ornithopods, and even other carnosaurs. Studies of the hind limbs suggest an Allosaur could reach speeds of 19 to 34 miles per hour, easily overtaking small prey. For oversized prey, such as the Diplodocus, the Allosaurus would have been a "flesh-grazer".

    The first Allosaur remains were discovered in 1869 in Middle Park, Granby County, Colorado, during the notorious "Bone Wars" of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The heated rivalry between American paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, and Othniel Charles Marsh of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale resulted in a great rush of dinosaur discoveries. Marsh first definitively described the genus in 1877, coining the name Allosaurus fragilis. The first part means "different" or "strange" lizard, for the fact that its spine was unusual compared to other known therapods at the time, with hollow spaces in the neck and anterior vertebrae - unusually "fragilis". Today the Allosaurus is known from approximately 60 specimens of almost all ages; seven species have been considered potentially valid since 1988, with ten further dubious. The type species is the A. fragilis, with further variants being the A. tendagurensis, A. amplexus, A. atrox, A. europaeus (not yet proposed), A. maximus (assigned to the separate genus Saurophaganax) and the as-yet not formally described A. jimmadseni, the rare primitive species to which the present Allosaurus, "Dracula" has been assigned.

    Given that the skull represents about 30% of a dinosaur's entire skeleton, "Dracula" is about 70-75% original bone, with the tail and several dorsal vertebrae being modeled reproductions. The skeleton is mounted in an attack position and measures 21 feet in length. The mount is designed to allow replacement of individual bones.

    This lot will only be offered if lot #49071 is unsold.


    Estimate: $1,600,000 - up.

    Condition Report*:

    Condition report available upon request.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2011
    12th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
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