Rare dinosaur skeleton could fetch £500,000 at auction

A rare skeleton of a dinosaur which last roamed Earth up to 155 million years ago is set to fetch up to £500,000 at auction.

The 9ft-long (2m) near-complete juvenile Allosaurus is the first predatory dinosaur skeleton to be sold in Britain, auctioneers said.

With its dagger-like teeth, the formidable Allosaurus lived during the late Jurassic period, and was one of the largest killing machines of its time.

Fully grown, it could reach 28ft (8m) in length, and it was only exceeded in size by its famous relative, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a species that lived some 80 million years later.

The skeleton is expected to sell for between £300,000 and £500,000 in the Evolution sale at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst, West Sussex, on November 25.

Experts say the juvenile specimen has "the cute factor" and may attract buyers wanting an unusual statement piece for their living room.

Rupert van der Werff, director at Summers Place, said: "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."

In November 2013, Summers Place sold a long-necked Diplodocus longus skeleton to the Natural History Museum of Denmark for £400,000.

The skeleton was found almost completely intact in 2009 by the sons of renowned palaeontologist Raimund Albersdoerfer near a quarry in Wyoming in the United States.

Mr Albersdoerfer was also responsible for finding the Allosaurus at the same quarry, which led to a long and costly process to identify the species.

Evolution curator Errol Fuller said: "Some of the bones are gigantic, some are tiny, but all must be approached with the same degree of caution to ensure that nothing of importance is overlooked.

"Once a bone, or series of bones, is located, the exact position is carefully mapped so that vital evidence is not lost when the specimens are finally removed from the ground."