Exploring Prehistoric Treasures: Sotheby’s Natural History Auction

In celebration of its remarkable 50th anniversary in Asia, Sotheby’s is gearing up to host its very first Natural History auction in the region.

Named “Prehistoric Earth,” this auction promises to transport enthusiasts back in time, offering a captivating glimpse into the world as it existed some 75 million years ago. This event showcases two extraordinary fossil specimens that have the potential to mesmerize both collectors and history enthusiasts alike. With an estimated value of US$1.5-2.6 million, these fossils are not only priceless relics of the past but also remarkable investments in the world of natural history.

Delving into the Past: The Juvenile Gryposaurus

One of the highlights of the “Prehistoric Earth” auction is the exceptionally rare Juvenile Gryposaurus, originating from the Late Cretaceous period, which spanned from 100 to 66 million years ago. This magnificent specimen, with an estimated worth of US$1.5-2.6 million, stands as a testament to the rich history of our planet.

This unique find is nothing short of a paleontological marvel. An adult Gryposaurus was an awe-inspiring creature, reaching lengths of approximately 27 feet. However, the star of the auction, a juvenile Gryposaurus, found within the rugged cliffs of Montana’s Judith River Formation, paints a vivid picture of its past.

Measuring just under nine feet, this specimen serves as an incredible snapshot of prehistoric life, preserved for eternity. It met its end as a youngling, likely succumbing to a catastrophic flash flood. What sets this find apart is its rarity, as only a handful of Gryposaurs have ever been unearthed. Remarkably, this is the first to grace the market and the first from the Judith River Formation.

The Magnificent Woolly Mammoth Skull

A true icon of the Ice Age, the Woolly Mammoth, an extinct species of Elephantidae, has left an indelible mark on human history. Depicted on cave walls and immortalized in sculptures by Paleolithic humans, the Woolly Mammoth continues to capture our collective imagination. Today, mammoth skulls, skeletons, and even mummified frozen remains are prized exhibits in museums worldwide.

Exploring Prehistoric Treasures: Sotheby's Natural History Auction

Discovered in the vast expanses of Siberia, the Woolly Mammoth Skull featured in the auction boasts an extraordinary feature – its tusks showcase rare blue and blue-green swirls. Each tusk measures almost three metres in length, making them not only a testament to the animal’s size but also a stunning example of nature’s artistry.

This distinctive colouration, found exclusively in fossilized Mammoth ivory, owes its existence to Vivianite, a mineral discovered by the renowned mineralogist John Henry Vivian in 1817 in England. Vivianite forms under specific environmental conditions, in the presence of iron-rich soil, water, and phosphate. Woolly Mammoth tusks, inherently rich in phosphate, have the chance to develop this exquisite blue and blue-green hue when fossilizing in iron-rich soil with high water content.

In conclusion, Sotheby’s Prehistoric Earth” auction promises to be a journey back in time, offering not only a chance to acquire these extraordinary fossils but also a unique opportunity to connect with our planet’s ancient history. With the Juvenile Gryposaurus and the Woolly Mammoth Skull taking centre stage, this event is set to captivate the imagination of collectors and history enthusiasts, all while preserving these remarkable relics for generations to come. Don’t miss the chance to be a part of this extraordinary exploration of our planet’s prehistoric past.

Images: Sotheby’s

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