The skeleton of a juvenile Allosaurus, known as Little Al, is expected to fetch up to £500,000 (€707,000, $754,000) when it is auctioned later today during the 25th November Evolution Auction at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst, West Sussex, England. The almost-complete skeletal remains is the most complete juvenile of the species ever discovered, Summers Place Auctions claims.
Little Al existed during the late Jurassic period, up to about 155 million years ago.
The remains of small and juvenile dinosaurs of the larger species are extremely rare. This is because most of them died at the hands of predators, i.e. after they were eaten, very little was left to be preserved.
The almost-complete skeleton of Little Al the Allosaurus. (summersplaceauctions.com)
Allosaurus was an apex predator
According to Summers Place Auctions, Allosaurus was a very large Therapod dinosaur which was right up there in the food chain along with Ceratosaurs and Torvosaurs.
Experts believe Allosaurus used to hunt on dry land and their prey probably included Sauropods and Stegasaurids, while Torvosaurs and Ceratosaurs hunted in a more watery environment.
A fully grown Allosaurus could reach 12 metres (39ft) in length. Little Al’s skeleton retains an articulated skull with dagger-like teeth.
Summers Place Auctions writes on its website:
“Apex predators are relatively rare and in such a competitive environment the survival of any juvenile material is remarkable.”
Pieces of Little Al were first discovered five years ago – by renowned German palaeontologist Raimund Albersdoerfer – close to a quarry in Wyoming in the US. They were scattered over a wide area, where remains of a Sauropod were also unearthed.
According to the auctioneers “Apex predators are relatively rare and in such a competitive environment the survival of any juvenile material is remarkable.” (Image: summersplaceauctions.com)
Rupert van der Werff, director at Summers Place, commented:
“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.”
For this almost-complete juvenile Allosaurus skeleton, live bidding or telephone bidding ONLY are permitted, say the auctioneers, i.e. no online bids will be accepted.
Mr. Albersdoerfer’s two teenage sons found the skeletal remains of a long-necked Diplodocus longus. Two years ago, the auction house sold it to the natural History Museum of Denmark for £400,000.
Video – Evolution Auction 2015
Renowned specialist in Natural History and celebrated author Errol Fuller gives an introduction to the 25th November Evolution Auction at Summers Place Auctions.