Twenty-eight years in the past, legendary paleontologist brothers Peter and Neal Larson dug a 40-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex out of the craggy, South Dakota floor.
This month, Christie’s bought that skeleton, nicknamed Stan, for $32 million—a value that smashed the document paid for a fossil.
To outsiders, such a sale would seem like a windfall for the siblings, fossil hunters who’ve spent many years discovering spectacular specimens. The T. rex bought for 4 instances Christie’s high estimate, buoying the fall auctions and highlighting the thriving marketplace for fossils.
But for the Larsons, the second marked the end result of a yearslong authorized battle between the once-inseparable brothers. Paleontologists and curators hoped the sale of Stan, which was estimated to fetch between $6 million and $Eight million, would convey the feuding Larson brothers some closure. However now mates fear Stan’s excessive value solely deepened the unhealthy blood between the brothers—as a result of the entire cash went to Neal.
“I figured they may nonetheless dislike one another, however there’s no means they’ll ever recover from this,” mentioned Mark Norell, chair of paleontology on the American Museum of Pure Historical past.
Beginning within the mid-1970s, the brothers constructed one of many West’s first, and pre-eminent, fossil-hunting enterprises, excavating 11 T. rexes and hundreds of specimens now in museums and college collections around the globe. They went site-to-site excavating dinosaurs, looking for permission from landowners who had been usually paid charges for the entry. In addition to Stan, they’re recognized for excavating the Subject Museum’s T. rex in Chicago, nicknamed Sue, the reigning titleholder for priciest dinosaur at $8.four million till Stan got here to market.