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T-rex called Stan sells for more than $44 million

AP and Reuters, September 17, 2020 6:45PM Kids News

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A Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton named Stan is on display at Christie's in New York City for viewing before it goes up for auction on October 6. Picture: AFP media_cameraA Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton named Stan is on display at Christie's in New York City for viewing before it goes up for auction on October 6. Picture: AFP


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Stan the T-rex weighed more than 6 tonnes and had eyes the size of baseballs. His bite could have crushed a car. He bore scars from fierce prehistoric battles.

And he has just sold at auction for more than $44 million, quadrupling any price previously paid for a dinosaur. Prior to the sale, it was estimated he may make $11 million.

The legend* of the Tyrannosaurus rex nicknamed Stan is getting fresh life thanks to auction house Christie’s. The auction house put his bones on display through floor-to-ceiling windows at its gallery in Manhattan in New York City, US, in advance of offering them for sale by auction on October 6. Christie’s did not identify the buyer.

“He is 37 feet (11.3m) long and one of the fiercest killing machines that has ever roamed the Earth,” said James Hyslop, head of the auction house’s science and natural history department, before the sale.

About 67 million years after Stan did all that roaming and killing, his remains were discovered in 1987 by amateur* palaeontologist* Stan Sacrison in a geological* area in the US Midwest known as the Cretaceous* Badlands.

“He showed it to scientists at the time who unfortunately misidentified it as a triceratops,” Mr Hyslop said.

Triceratops remains are relatively common in the palaeontological world, so the bones failed to attract much interest until Mr Sacrison took them to the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota, US, in 1992, which is the organisation now selling Stan the dinosaur.

Researchers there “realised pretty quickly that they had something special in their hands,” said Mr Hyslop. They recategorised Stan as a T-rex and returned to the dig site to find more of Stan, eventually recovering 188 out of an estimated 300 total for any T-rex, Mr Hyslop said.

Stan is also notable* for two fused* vertebrae scientists have identified in his neck, suggesting the dinosaur broke his neck and survived during his lifetime. “The clue is in the name, the Tyrannosaurus rex. He is the tyrant*,” Mr Hyslop said.

“We’ve got the skull displayed at ground level so that you can get really up close and personal with him and just see the serrations* on his teeth. His longest tooth is 11 inches (28cm) long. It’s just terrifying to behold*.”

media_cameraSkull of Stan the T-rex at Christie’s Rockefeller Center on September 15, 2020 in New York City, US. Picture: AFP

Most T-rex skeletons are held by museums and private institutions. The auction was an opportunity for a private collector or institution* to acquire the bones. Mr Hyslop assured potential buyers  before the sale that Stan “is being offered with no reserve. So absolutely everyone has a shot at him.”

Before the sale, Christie’s estimated the value of the dinosaur at between $8.2 and $11 million.

media_cameraThe upper jaw and teeth from Stan, one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex specimens ever found. Picture: AFP
media_cameraPart of the foot of Stan the T-rex. Picture: AFP


  • legend: an old and famous story, some of which might be true and some made up
  • amateur: hobbyist, not for a job
  • palaeontologist: fossil scientist
  • geological: relating to the structure of the Earth and what it is made from
  • Cretaceous: period 145 to 66 million years ago
  • notable: noticeable, remarkable
  • fused: joined together so they can’t move independently
  • tyrant: a cruel and oppressive ruler
  • serrations: tooth shape or jagged edges, like the edge of some knives
  • behold: see
  • institution: organisation, such as a museum, school, university


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  1. How long and how heavy was this T-rex?
  2. What did Stan Sacrison do?
  3. What could have caused Stan’s vertebrae to fuse?
  4. Can anyone buy Stan or do you have to own a museum?
  5. How much did Christie’s think Stan is worth?


1. What Would You Do?
Imagine you are the lucky person who has bought Stan. What would you do with the bones? Write a description or create a design that shows where and how you would keep Stan. Don’t forget that these are very old fossils, so you will need to think about how you would keep them safe.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science, Design and Technologies

2. Extension
Do you think that a private person should be allowed to buy Stan? Write a letter or post to Kids News explaining your opinion on this. Remember that your purpose is to convince your readers that your opinion is the correct one.

Time: allow at least 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science

Aside from this, there is also this!
Brackets are a great literacy tool for adding aside comments, or comments that could be covered over and the sentence still makes sense. What’s inside the brackets is extra information.

They can be used for a variety of effects: to add more detail, to add humour, to connect with the reader etc.

My little brother, (the funniest kid I know) got himself into big trouble today.

Select 3 sentences from the article to add an aside comment to using brackets. Think about not only what you want to add to the sentence, but also what effect you are trying to create.

HAVE YOUR SAY: If you could, would you buy Stan?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

Extra Reading in history