Juvenile Allosaurus auction fails to get successful bidder

The juvenile Allosaurus – ‘Little Al’ – which was expected to fetch up to £500,000 at auction, failed to sell on Friday during the Evolution Auction at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst, West Sussex, UK. Clearly, the reserve (undisclosed) on the almost-complete skeleton was too high.

A spokeswoman said the bidding stopped below the reserve price that had been agreed with the seller. She added that people who missed out on the bidding could still buy it with a ‘reasonable offer’ after the auction. The auction only accepted face-to-face or telephone bids, and not online offers.

According to the auction house, the Little Al’s skeletal remains are the most complete of a juvenile Allosaurus ever discovered. The young fearsome predator existed up to about 155 million years ago, during the late Jurassic period.

Allosaurus Little AlClearly, an almost-complete skeleton of a juvenile Allosaurus is not as sought-after as some had expected. (Image: summersplaceauctions.com)

The failed sale was a surprise. The remains of juvenile dinosaurs of the larger species are very rare, because most of the ones that died prematurely did so at the hands of predators – after being eaten there was not much left to be preserved.

Allosaurus – a fearsome apex predator

Summers Place Auctions says Allosaurus was an extremely big Therapod dinosaur, which next to Torvosaurs and Ceratosaurs, was an apex predator – top of the food chain.

While Allosaurus was believed to hunt on dry land, experts say Ceratosaurs and Torvosaurs likely preferred more watery environments.

A mature, adult male Allosaurus could reach 39 feet (12 metres) in length. Little Al’s skeleton retains an articulated skull with dozens of sharp, serrated, dagger-like teeth, and large claws for grabbing and ripping prey.

Summers Place Auctions wrote:

“Apex predators are relatively rare and in such a competitive environment the survival of any juvenile material is remarkable.”

Little Al the AllosaurusEven as a juvenile, Little Al was a fearsome predator. (Image: summersplaceauctions.com)

Renowned German palaeontologist Raimund Albersdoerfer discovered fragments of Little Al in 2009, close to a quarry in Wyoming, USA. They were scattered over a large area, where skeletal remains of a Sauropod were also unearthed.

One of the directors at Summers Place, Rupert van der Werff, said:

“The Allosaurus, together with the T-Rex, has become the quintessentially large, carnivorous dinosaur in western popular culture.”

“Given the size of this Allosaurus it also adds the cute factor and may not just attract interest from museums but could also be the wow factor in a luxurious living room.”

Dr. Albersdoerfer’s two teenage sons discovered the skeletal remains of a long-necked Diplodocus longus. The auction house sold it to the History Museum of Denmark for £400,000 in 2013.

Video – Evolution Auction