Christie’s cancels T-rex auction after scientist claims it reused bones of another dinosaur

Christie’s canceled a $20 million auction of a nearly complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton after a paleontologist accused the British auction house of using bones from a different dinosaur.

Esteemed paleontologist Pete Larson told the News York Times that bones from the T-rex “Shen” set to go on auction next week in Hong Kong look remarkably similar to the bones of another T-rex skeleton that Christie’s auctioned in 2020, called “Stan,” which sold for $31.8 million.

“They’re using Stan to sell a dinosaur that’s not Stan,” Larson told the New York Times. “It’s very misleading.”

Christie’s gave no explanation for why they were withdrawing the dinosaur, which was set to be the headline item with an estimated value between $15 million and $25 million.

“After consultation with the consignor of the Tyrannosaurus rex scheduled for sale on 30 November in Hong Kong, Christie’s has decided to withdraw the lot. The consignor has now decided to loan the specimen to a museum for public display,” the auction house said in a statement Monday.

The “Shen” skeleton delisted from next week’s Hong Kong auction

Edward Lewine, a spokesperson for Christie’s said the skeleton would “benefit from further study.”

Larson helped excavate the original “Stan” skeleton in 1992, along with the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in South Dakota, for which he is president.

Larson has been studying the “Stan” skeleton ever since, adding that the skull of the new dinosaur set to go on auction had identical holes in its lower left jaw that were unique to the one he studied for decades.

-Rex skeleton named Shen is exhibited at the Victoria Concert Hall
Edward Lewine, a spokesperson for Christie’s said only that the skeleton would “benefit from further study.”

The paleontologist said he believes the “Shen” skeleton is not as complete as it seems, and the auction house used casts of “Stan’s” bones to fill in the gaps, including the skull.

His institute still owns the intellectual property rights to “Stan” and sells full-sized replicas casts of the skeleton for $120,000 each.