Dinosaur tracks lead to phenomenal Martian rock in May 6 Natural History auction
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Extraordinarily rare natural history specimens, including skeletons of exotic dinosaurs and a fist-size meteorite from Mars, are ready for their close-ups at I.M. Chait’s May 6 auction in Beverly Hills.
The headliner, known as the Tissint Meteorite, is believed to have solidified from lava 400-500 years ago. It landed in an African desert last July after a journey from Mars lasting hundreds of millions of years.
According to eyewitnesses, the meteorite fell to earth near Tissint, Morocco, after a yellow fireball streaked across the sky, turned bright green, then split in two as two loud sonic booms were emitted. Experts later determined the specimens had originated on Mars.
“Less than 0.1% of all known meteorites are Martian in origin. Since this was the first Martian meteorite fall to be observed since 1962, it is quite likely the only such fall that will be observed in most current earth inhabitants’ lifetimes,” said Chait’s natural history director Jake Chait.
The specimen is unusually fresh. Tiny air bubbles trapped in the rock may even provide insight as to the Red Planet’s atmosphere. It is expected to make $200,000-$300,000 at auction.
One of the sale’s top zoological lots is a superb Saurolophus angustirostris known as “Donald the Duck-billed Dinosaur.” Dating to the Late Cretaceous period, the herbivorous Saurolophus roamed both North America and Asia. Over 14 ft. long, “Donald” displays a bony crest projecting back at a 45-degree angle over the skull. Auction estimate: $150,000-$200,000.
Another highlight is an extremely rare skull of a baby Triceratops found at the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, a site that produced many significant fossils. Estimate: $60,000-$80,000.
A jointed leg from a fearsome Tarbosaurus bataar (Tyrannosaurus), approximately 70 to 65 million years old, could sell for $20,000-$25,000; while a complete 39-inch-long Psittacosaurus skeleton, would be the ultimate prize on any CEO’s desk. Estimate: $10,000-$12,000.
Appropriately for the Year of the Dragon, the auction includes an extremely rare fossilized skull of an Ankylosaurid, long ago thought to have been a dragon because of its broad, flat-topped skull. Very few Ankylosaurid remains have ever been found. Estimate: $30,000-$40,000.
Dinosaur eggs, coprolites (fossilized dinosaur dung), an Egyptian mummified human hand and fossilized insects are among the many other natural history specimens in the May 6 auction.
SOURCE I.M. Chait