A famed dinosaur skeleton that is the most complete set of triceratops bones ever discovered will go up for auction next month - and are estimated to fetch $1.8 million.
The skeleton, affectionately named 'Big John', is more than 60 percent complete and its skull is 75 percent complete, Drout, the auction house, handling the sale, said on its website.
Big John is 66-million-years old, with his skull measuring 8.6 feet (2.6 meters) long and 6.6 feet (2m) wide. The horns on the massive dinosaur are each 3.6 feet (1.1m) long and almost 12 inches wide.
They allowed the formidable creature to withstands 16 tons of pressure, according to New Atlas.
Drouot estimates Big John will sell for $1.4-$1.8 million when the remains go under the hammer in Paris next month.
'I imagine there are about 10 buyers worldwide for this kind of piece,' said Alexandre Giquello, who is leading the sale.
The first bones were discovered in May 2014 by geologist Walter W. Stein Bill in the Hell Creek Formation in South Dakota.
Since then, 60 percent of Big John's skeleton has been found, including its nearly-complete skull. In total, more than 200 of the dinosaur's bones have been unearthed.
According to Drout, there is a laceration on Big John's collar, which is likely 'evidence of a duel with another, smaller triceratops in which Big John was reportedly injured,' the auction house wrote on its website.
'These violent fights took place during the life of these animals, probably for reasons of territorial defense or courtship.'
In October 2020, the skeleton was sent to the Zoic workshop in Trieste, Italy for restoration, New Atlas added.
The giant herbivore lived in Laramidia (also the home of Tyrannosaurus rex), an island continent that stretched from Alaska to Mexico.
Big John died in a floodplain, which allowed his skeleton to be preserved in mud, Drout added.
Big John will be exhibited in an emblematic square in Italy before heading over to France in October for the public to see, prior to the October 21 auction.
Other dinosaur fossils have sold for significant sums in recent memory, including two allosaurs sold for $1.66 million (1.4 million euros) and $3.56 million (3 million euros) in 2018 and 2020, respectively, the auction house said.
A diplodocus fossil was sold for $1.66 million (1.4 million euros) in 2018 as well.
Once primarily sold to museums, dinosaur remains have increasingly attracted private buyers, though their numbers remain few.
In October 2020, a 40ft-long T. rex fossil sold for a record-breaking $31 million at auction, nearly four times the previous record of a dinosaur fossil.