The skeleton of a 37 million year old saber-toothed tiger goes to auction

The remains of a 37 million-year-old saber-toothed tiger will be auctioned in Geneva a year after discovery. It is estimated that the skeleton, about 120 cm in length, will be auctioned on 8 December at a price of 60, 000 to 80, 000 Swiss francs, which equates to approximately 66, 550 - 88, 750 US dollars.

This fossil is exceptional, first of all, from the point of view of preservation: the skeleton is millions of years old, while it is 90% intact. Several missing bones were restored using a 3D printer.

In fact, the remains belong to a species called Hoplophonus, and it is not a member of the feline family, as is commonly believed, but an extinct genus of the Nimravid family that lived in North America. These extinct carnivorous mammals are usually called saber-toothed tigers, hence the confusion in attribution to the family.

The skeleton was found at a ranch in South Dakota in late summer 2019. As is often the case, it was found by chance - as a result of soil erosion, part of the skeleton was at the surface. The rancher noticed strange bones sticking out of the ground while walking around the property.

The sale next week is the second such auction in Switzerland. Sabretooth is the "star of the show" this time, but many other treasures of the past will also participate in the auction, such as ammolite, an opal-like organic gem in shades of red and orange. Lovers of the world of Jurassic Park will be able to buy a Tyrannosaurus tooth for 2200-2800 francs. Or, for example, an 85 cm long mosasaur fin for 5000-7000 francs - this monstrous marine reptile was at the top of the underwater food chain during the Cretaceous period.