Christie’s has announced the cancellation of the controversial sale of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in Hong Kong, after its owner decided to lease it to a museum instead.

The 1,400kg skeleton, dubbed “Shen”, was due to be sold at auction, according to Christie’s, which did not provide an estimate of the price or the identity of the seller, reports a local Arabic daily.

“The depositor has now decided to lease it to a museum to display it to the public,” the company said in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

Paleontologists had criticized the sale, and doubts have also arisen about the authenticity of the fossil. “Shen”, which is 4.6 meters high and 12 meters long, is an adult male who lived about 67 million years ago. It was discovered in 2020 in the US state of Montana.

According to the New York Times, the sales documents did not clearly say that Shane was partially reconstructed using similar bones from another dinosaur. However, according to the newspaper also, similarities were noted between the skull of “Shane” and that of “Stan”, another tyrannosaurus sold by Christie’s in 2020 for $31.8 million.

The owner of Stan’s intellectual property, the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, revealed that Shane’s owner had bought replicas of his dinosaur skeleton from him.

According to experts, it is very rare to find a complete dinosaur skeleton. The Tyrannosaurus had 380 bones in all, but according to Christie’s, only 80 of the shin bones are original.

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