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EARTH Magazine: Dueling dinosaurs hit the auction block

Alexandria, Va. In 2006, a fossil collector and his crew discovered a rare fossil on private land in Montana's Hell Creek Formation: the bones of two fully articulated dinosaurs that appeared to have died together, locked in battle. The fossil duo a small, pony-sized carnivorous tyrannosaurid and a slightly larger herbivorous ceratopsian, both now preserved in plaster became known as the "Montana Dueling Dinosaurs." Last November, the fossils were put on the block at Bonhams auction house in New York City but they did not sell. Had the set fetched the nearly $9 million it was expected to, it would have set a record for a fossil sale. For now, the Dueling Dinosaurs remain locked in an unidentified warehouse somewhere in the United States along with any scientific information the unique specimens may reveal.

Limited research so far indicates that the pair seems to have died together, perhaps in a battle, and that one of the dinosaurs is only the second known sample of a Nanotyrannus. Read about the battle to preserve and study these nearly complete, fully articulated fossils in the June issue of EARTH Magazine at

For more stories about the science of our planet, check out EARTH Magazine online or subscribe at The June issue, now available on the digital newsstand, features stories on exploring the amazing limestone geology of Croatia and how longstanding climate proxies are being called into question, as well as a commentary on preparing for the death of Earth, plus much, much more.


Contact: Megan Sever
American Geosciences Institute

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