Fossil hunter Alan Detrich is attempting to sale his young Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton on eBay for an astonishing $2.95 million, and paleontologists aren't happy about it. Detrich is the owner of the 15-foot fossil, but he's come under fire for his attempt to sell it online after he already lent it to the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum two years ago.
The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology has released a statement condemning the listing, explaining, "Mr. Detrich has tried to capitalize on the museum’s good faith by using the exhibition and scientific attention as selling points." They claim that by placing the fossil on display in the museum was part of his plan to eventually sell it on to the highest bidder. "These events undermine the scientific process for studying past life as well as the prospect for future generations to share the natural heritage of our planet," their statement continued.
"It's very hard to reach a billionaire," Detrich said in an interview with The New York Times. "Putting it on eBay is one way to do it." The skeleton is believed to be a 4-year-old T-Rex, with the listing on eBay stating that it could be "the only baby T-Rex in the world." This isn't the first time the 70-something Detrich has attempted to sell fossils for high prices, having previously failed to sell a T-Rex skeleton for $5.8 million back in 1999.
Anne Tangeman, a spokeswoman for the museum where the skeleton is currently on display, said, "Our intent was to keep the specimen in the museum sphere to be enjoyed by visitors until it was sold to a museum. We learned early last week that the owner had abruptly listed the specimen for sale on eBay without prior warning or checking with us."
Detrich said that he has since received an email from Leonard Krishtalka, who is the director of the museum, who simply asked, "What are you doing?" In response, Detrich said, "Well I own this thing. It is mine. I can do whatever I want." This listing is still available, but has yet to receive any bids.