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TYRANNOSAURUS REX
TYRANNOSAURUS REX
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This lot is offered without reserve. THE KING OF THE DINOSAURS
TYRANNOSAURUS REX

SOUTH DAKOTA, USA

Details
TYRANNOSAURUS REX
SOUTH DAKOTA, USA
From the Hell Creek Formation, 16 meters below the K-T boundary, Maastrichtian, Late Cretaceous (circa 67 million years ago). A male Tyrannosaurus rex, in remarkable state of preservation, showing pathologies such as puncture wounds to jaws and healed break to the neck vertebra; approx. 188 bones mounted on custom frame with additional cast elements. A separate display for the original skull and teeth.
37 x 13 x 6ft. (1128 x 396 x 183cm.)
The successful bidder will be offered a license from the consignor for certain intellectual property rights, however such rights will not include the ability to produce three-dimensional reproductions or to sell related merchandise on-line.
Provenance
Discovered by Stan Sacrison, spring 1987.
Excavated by the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, 14 April to 7 May, 1992.
Additional skeletal remains excavated in 1993 & 2003.
Black Hills Institute of Geological Research.
Literature
Bates, K.T., and Falkingham, P.L., ‘Estimating Maximum Bite Performance in Tyrannosaurus Rex Using Multi-Body Dynamics’, Biology Letters: Palaeontology (February 2012) pp.1-4., Fig.1
Bates, K.T., Hodgetts, D., Manning, P.L., and Sellers. W.I., ‘Estimating Mass Properties of Dinosaurs Using Laser Imaging and 3D Computer Modelling’, in PLoS ONE (February 2009) pp.1-26
Brochu, C.A., ‘Osteology of Tyrannosaurus rex: Insights from a Nearly Complete Skeleton and High-Resolution Computed Tomographic Analysis of the Skull’, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Memoir 7, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 22, Supplement (2003) p.31 & 46
Carpenter, K., 'Variation in Tyrannosaurus rex', Carpenter, K. and Currie, P.J. (eds.) Dinosaur Systematics: perspectives ad approaches. (Cambridge: 1990) pp. 141-145.
Farrar, R., ‘Tyrannosaurus rex Walking and Running Speed’, in Larson, P.L. (ed.), The Rex Files: Scientific Papers and Popular Articles and Miscellaneous Information on Tyrannosaurus rex (South Dakota: 1996)
Gignac, P.M., and Erikson, G.M., ‘The Biomechanics behind Extreme Osteophagy in Tyrannosaurus Rex’, Scientific Reports (May 2017) pp.2-8, Figs.2-4
Horner, J.R., The Complete T. Rex (New York: 1993) pp.73-74, 146
Hurum, J.H. and Sabath, K., ‘Skulls of Tarbosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Compared’, Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, Vol. 48 (2003) pp.174-187
Hutchinson, J.R., Bates, K.T., Molnar, J., Allen, V., and Makovicky, P.J., ‘A Computational Analysis of Limb and Body Dimensions in Tyrannosaurus Rex with Implications for Locomotion, Ontogeny, and Growth’, PloS ONE (October 2011) pp.1-17, Figs.2-4
Larson, P.L., ‘Cranial Morphology, Mechanics, Kinesis, and Variation in Tyrannosaurus rex’, in Larson, P.L. (ed.), The Rex Files: Scientific Papers and Popular Articles and Miscellaneous Information on Tyrannosaurus rex (South Dakota: 1996) pp.1-22, Figs.1-11
Larson, P.L., ‘The King’s New Clothes: A New Look at Tyrannosaurus rex’, originally prepared for presentation at DinoFest II (Arizona: 1996) Figs.3-4
Larson P.L. 'Atlas of skull bones of Tyrannosaurus rex'’, Larson, P.L., and K. Carpenter (eds.) Tyrannosaurus rex, the Tyrant King (Indiana: 2008) pp.233-43
Larson, N.L., ‘One Hundred Years of Tyrannosaurus rex: The Skeletons’, in Larson, P.L., and K. Carpenter (eds.) Tyrannosaurus rex, the Tyrant King (Indiana: 2008) pp.21-23, Fig.1.11
Larson, P.L., ‘Variation and Sexual Dimorphism in Tyrannosaurus rex’, Larson, P.L., and K. Carpenter (eds.) Tyrannosaurus rex, the Tyrant King (Indiana: 2008) pp.103-131, Figs.8.16
Larson, P.L., ‘The Case for Nanotyrannus’, in Parrish, J.M., Molnar, R.E., Currie, P.J., and Koppelhus, E.B. (eds.), Tyrannosaurid Paleobiology, (Indiana: 2013) pp.26-47, Figs.2.18, 2.21-23
Larson, P.L., and Donnan, K., Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law, and My Life (Montpelier: 2002) p.114
Larson, P.L., and Donnan, K., Bones Rock! Everything you need to know to be a Paleontologist (Montpelier: 2004) pp.100-115
Larson, P.L., and Rigby Jr., J.K., ‘Furcula of Tyrannosaurus rex’, in Carpenter, K. (ed.), The Carnivorous Dinosaurs (Indiana: 2005) pp.247-256
Larson, P.L., and Russell, D., ‘The Benefits of Commercial Fossil Sales to 21st Century Paleontology’, Palaeontologia Electronica, Vol. 17, Issue 1 (2014) pp.2-5, illustrated
Larsson, H.C.E., ‘Palatial Kinesis of Tyrannosaurus rex’, in Larson, P.L., and K. Carpenter (eds.) Tyrannosaurus rex, the Tyrant King (Indiana: 2008) pp.245-255
Lautenschlager, S., ‘Estimating Cranial Musculoskeletal Constraints in Theropod Dinosaurs’, Royal Society Open Science (October 2015) pp.3-5
Moore, R., Dinosaurs by the Decades: A Chronology of the Dinosaur in Science and Popular Culture (Connecticut: 2014) pp.275 & 300
Persons, W.S., and Currie, P.J., ‘The Tail of Tyrannosaurus: Reassessing the Size and Locomotive Importance of the M. caudofemoralis in Non-Avian Theropods’, The Anatomical Record, Vol. 294 (2011) pp.119-131
Peterson, J.E., and Daus, K.N., ‘Feeding Traces Attributable to Juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex Offer Insight into Ontogenetic Dietary Trends’, in PeerJ (March 2019) pp.7-11
Sellers, W.I., Pond, S.B., Brassey, C.A., Manning, P.L., and Bates, K.T., ‘Investigating the Running Abilities of Tyrannosaurus Rex Using Stress-Constrained Multibody Dynamic Analysis’, PeerJ (July 2017) pp.1-19, Fig.2
Stevens, K.A., Larson, P.L., Wills, E.D., and Anderson, A., ‘Rex, Sit: Digital Modelling of Tyrannosaurus rex at Rest’, in Larson, P.L., and K. Carpenter (eds.) Tyrannosaurus rex, the Tyrant King (Indiana: 2008) pp.192-198, Figs.11.1-11.5
Therrien, F., Henderson, D.M., and Ruff, C.B., ‘Bite Me: Biomechanical Models of Theropod Mandibles and Implications for Feeding Behavior’, in Carpenter, K. (ed.), The Carnivorous Dinosaurs (Indiana: 2005) pp.179-238
Thimmesh, C., Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled: How Do We Know What Dinosaurs Really Looked Like? (Boston: 2013) p.2, illustrated
Tokyo Broadcasting System, the T. rex World Exposition, (Tokyo: 1995)

FILMOGRAPHY
Counter, D., and Donnan, K., T-Rex “The Real World”, Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, Inc., 1996 (35 min.)
Donnan, K., and Counter, D., The Rex-Files: STAN, 1999 (27 min.)
BBC, The Truth about Killer Dinosaurs, Series 1, Episode 1, 2005 (60 min.)

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
Breithaupt, B.H., Southwell, E.H., and Matthews, N. A., 'Wyoming’s Dynamosaurus imperiosus and other early discoveries of Tyrannosaurus rex in the Rocky Mountain West', Larson, P.L. and K. Carpenter (eds.), Tyrannosaurus rex, the Tyrant King (Indiana: 2008) pp. 56-61.
Lanham, U., The bone hunters: the heroic age of paleontology (Columbia: 1973)
Osborn, H.F., ‘Tyrannosaurus and other Cretaceous Carnivorous Dinosaurs’, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol.21 (1905) pp.259-265
Osborn, H.F., ‘Tyrannosaurus, Upper Cretaceous Carnivorous Dinosaur (Second Communication)’, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol.22 (1906) pp.281-296
Osborn, H.F., ‘Tyrannosaurus: Restoration and Model of the Skeleton’, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol.32 (1913) pp.91-92
Brown, B., ‘Tyrannosaurus, a Cretaceous Carnivorous Dinosaur, the Largest Flesh-Eater that ever lived’, Scientific American, Vol. 63 (1915) pp.322-323.
Osborn, H.F., ‘Skeletal adaptations of Ornitholestes, Struthiomimus, Tyrannosaurus’, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol.35 (1917) pp.733-771
Rea, T., The Bone Wars (University of Pittsburgh Press: 2002)
Spalding, D.A.E., Dinosaur Hunters: Eccentric Amateurs and Obsessed Professionals (California: 1993)
Sotheby’s, New York, 4 October 1997, Tyrannosaurus rex: A Highly Important and Virtually Complete Fossil Skeleton.
Erickson, G.M., Makovicky, P.K., and Brochu, C.A., ‘Gigantism and Comparative Life-History Parameters of Tyrannosaurid Dinosaurs’, Nature, Vol. 36, Issue 8 (2004)
Longrich, N.R., Horner, J.R., Erickson, G.M., and Currie, P.J. ‘Cannibalism in Tyrannosaurus rex’, PLoS ONE (October 2010)
Nesteruk, I., ‘Tyrannosaurus rex Running? Estimations of Efficiency, Speed and Acceleration’, Innov. Biosyst. Bioeng., Vol. 2, No. 1 (2018) pp.42-48
Exhibited
Main Street, Hill City, South Dakota, 1995.
The T. rex World Exposition, Tokyo & nationwide tour of Japan, July 1995 – June 1996.
Museum of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, Hill City, South Dakota, 1996 – 2019.

EXHIBITED (FULL SKELETAL CASTS):
National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C, USA.
Discovery Channel HQ, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.
Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays, Kansas, USA.
Wyoming Dinosaur Center, Thermopolis, Wyoming, USA.
Children’s Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
Museum of Natural Science, Houston, Texas, USA.
Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA.
Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
Disney World, Orlando, Florida, USA.
Manchester Museum, Manchester, UK.
Museum of Natural History, University of Oxford, UK.
Sauriermuseum Aathal, Seegräben, Switzerland.
Natural History Museum, Oslo, Norway.
The Mind Museum at Taguig, Luzon, Philippines.
National Museum of Natural Science, Tokyo, Japan.
Special Notice

This lot is offered without reserve.

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Lot Essay

The incredible survival of this skeleton is the result of fossilization, a process which took place over millions of years. After the Tyrannosaurus rex died in a small streambed, its body was disarticulated by the stream. Some of the bones were carried away, but the majority of the skeleton was then gradually covered with sand, mud and leaves. Because of the thick layer of leaves found close to the bone layer, it is believed that Stan died sometime in the late summer or early fall. Over time, most of the bone cells were filled with minerals carried by water seeping through the sediments, which then preserved them through time.

The incredible survival of this skeleton is the result of fossilization, a process which took place over millions of years. After the Tyrannosaurus rex died in a small streambed, its body was disarticulated by the stream. Some of the bones were carried away, but the majority of the skeleton was then gradually covered with sand, mud and leaves. Because of the thick layer of leaves found close to the bone layer, it is believed that Stan died sometime in the late summer or early fall. Over time, most of the bone cells were filled with minerals carried by water seeping through the sediments, which then preserved them through time.

In the spring of 1987, amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison was searching dinosaurs within the Hell Creek Formation: part of a sprawling geological wonder known as the Cretaceous badlands, spanning large areas of North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. During the course of his search, Sacrison discovered the dinosaur’s hip bones that were weathering out of the ground. Soon after this find, the fossil was misidentified, by a vertebrate paleontologist brought to the site, as a Triceratops. As a result Sacrison was discouraged, and the remains of Stan’s skeleton lay undisturbed for another five years until 1992, when paleontologists from the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research went to see this “Triceratops.” It was immediately recognized as T. rex and three months later, the excavation ensued.

In order to be excavated safely, each individual bone from Stan’s skeleton had to be carefully removed from the host rock, cleaned, preserved, restored and recorded. Following more than 30,000 hours of manual labor, Stan was erected on a custom mount to reflect his former glory. His resurrection was celebrated with a local unveiling on Hill City’s Main Street in South Dakota, followed by his global ‘debut’ as the centerpiece of Japan’s T. rex World Expo in Tokyo in 1995.

The skeleton is testament to the behemoth scale of a live Tyrannosaurus rex, standing a towering 13 feet high, and almost 40 feet long with the tail outstretched. With almost two hundred original bones, Stan is one of the largest and most complete specimens known to exist. Stan’s immediately recognizable and enormous skull is surmounted by an aquiline snout that would have once housed an intricate system of blood vessels, functioning as a giant biological air conditioner in the hot Cretaceous landscape. With eyes the size of baseballs, Stan would have boasted keen vision to assist with hunting.

Likewise, the internal structure of the skulls reveals an impressive sense of smell. Although no T. rex brain has been yet been preserved to the present day, the highly detailed brain cavity left behind indicates that a major part of the brain was dedicated to the ‘olfactory bulbs’. The large space set aside for these ‘bulbs’ confirm Stan’s identity as a carnivore, and would have equipped him for hunting at night and over long distances. Through this potent combination of acute sight, keen sense of smell, agility, cunning, and brute strength, Stan would have thrived as a predator with no competitors or threats other than another T. rex.

Further to the skull’s visual impact, Stan’s monumental remains emphatically display the deadly capability of a fully grown Tyrannosaurus rex. Stan’s skull is one of the most complete T. rex examples known to science, and could hold as many as 58 functioning teeth at any time. The longest of Stan’s teeth measures more than 11 inches. Each tooth has serrated edges which could crush and slice straight through the flesh and bone of its prey. In 2005 Stan’s skull was modelled and tested to recreate a bite force of four tons per square inch – easily enough to crush a car. With vicious puncture wounds to his skull that a T. rex tooth would neatly fit into, Stan himself was a wounded warrior who most likely suffered and survived attacks by his own species.

In his life, Stan would have grown from humble beginnings into an apex predator. He would have hatched from a large, elongated egg much like a modern bird, defenseless and – according to recent scientific research – most likely covered in feathers. As a juvenile Stan would have been vulnerable and no larger than a small turkey, requiring the continued protection of his parents. At his largest, Stan would have boasted a body mass between 7 and 8 tons – twice as heavy as the average modern African elephant.

Although debate has raged as to whether the T. rex was a hunter or scavenger, Stan’s arsenal was fully equipped for hunting independently or in a group of Tyrannosaurs (aptly known as a ‘terror’). Stan’s killer instinct was confirmed during the excavation of his skeleton in 1992, when he was found with the fossilized and partially digested remains of an Edmontosaurus vertebra and a partial Triceratops tibia. These bones each had bite marks, revealing how Stan could hunt, kill, and devour even the largest and well-protected herbivores.

Given the size and deadly nature of Tyrannosaurus rex, it comes as no surprise that the species became a pop culture icon, boasting a movie career over a century old. The ‘debut’ of the T. rex on-screen came just 15 years after the dinosaur was first discovered, with the American production Ghost of Slumber Mountain (1918). Through a groundbreaking combination of live action and stop-motion, the “lumbering monsters of yesteryear” became an unforgettable presence in the fantasy genre, terrifying audiences ever since. Further representations of the T. rex can be found horrifying human explorers in The Lost World (1925), battling the eponymous great ape in King Kong (1933), and terrorizing park-goers in the blockbuster Jurassic Park (1993) and Jurassic World (2015) franchises.

Stan himself can boast a unique celebrity status; upon returning from his tour of Japan in 1995-1996, he was exhibited at the museum of the Black Hills Institute, where he has been for over two decades. Casts of Stan’s skeleton have been produced for dozens of science and natural history museums across the Americas, Europe and Asia, making Stan’s reign a truly global one. The subject of dozens of academic articles, Stan is recognized and revered as a scientific and cultural sensation. As the most reproduced T. rex fossil, Stan is almost certainly the most viewed and widely exhibited dinosaur of all time. Stan’s popularity was further driven by T. rex discoveries in the region during the 1990’s, including “Sue” in 1990, who now resides at the Chicago Field Museum. Such revelations caused a rapid boom of global public interest in Tyrannosaurus rex and Stan proved to be one of the best examples ever discovered.

More than fifty Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons have been uncovered since 1902, with the majority populating world-leading natural history museums and paleontological institutions. The appearance of a T. rex skeleton at auction is a significant event, made all the more special with a specimen as well-preserved and scientifically valuable as the present lot. Stan marks a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acquire the extraordinary fossil skeleton of the most famous dinosaur species ever to have lived.

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