His name is Skinny. Or is it her name? We don’t know as it is hard to tell whether Skinny, a 150-million year old dinosaur skeleton, is a boy or a girl. And Skinny was on display beneath the glass roof of the luxurious Grand Hôtel in Paris waiting for his forever family. For Skinny was to be auctioned off by the independent French auction house Aguttes on June 13th at 2pm at the hotel. Skinny whose exact species has not yet been identified and who is patiently awaiting a scientific name, is considered to be a cousin of Diplodocus, a dinosaur with a typical sauropod shape with a long neck and tail and four sturdy legs. But Skinny is still waiting for his forever family because the highest auction bid last June 13th, was just under the 1.2 million reserve price.
It made for a surrealist scene as Parisians and well-heeled visitors enjoying breakfast in the glass domed venue of the Grand Hôtel sipped their coffee in the shade of Skinny, who is eight meters tall with his foundation base and 12.95 meters long . Before his stint as the oldest resident at the Grand Hôtel, Skinny once roamed the American northwest 150 million years ago and was discovered in the Morrison Formation in Wyoming in 2012 and studied by a team of paleontologists.
Skinny’s well-preserved skeleton, which is 90% complete, has been compared to that of a Galeamopus, Diplodocus, Barosaurus, Kaatedocus and a Supersaurus from the Morrison Formation Diplogocaine as well as a Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus from the Morrison Formation Apatosaurus and finally a Amphicoelias and a Suuwassea. After extensive study it was determined that Skinny is most likely part of a previously unknown new Diplodocus species, explains Eric Mickeler, the paleontology expert who organized the sale for Aguttes. Skinny, although rather slender, earned the nickname because Skinny’s bones have imprints of skin on them.
« It is the first time that imprints of this kind have been found directly associated to the skeleton of a Sauropod, » explains Mr. Mickeler, a member of The European Chamber of Expert-Advisors in Fine Art, an international expert in Natural History and a specialist in dinosaurs who is also a special advisor to the Aguttes auction house, «Skinny is a marvelous subject for scientific study because the presence of these soft tissues represents the only direct proof of the real appearance of living dinosaurs. »
Diplodocus is a beloved dinosaur among dinosaur friends and fans and regularly features in films. They are enormous and vegetarian and so are often styled as the gentle giants of the dinosaur world. The Diplodocus genus lived in what is now mid-western North America at the end of the Jurassic period. For now Skinny has been dismantled until further notice. So enjoy these photographs of Skinny and his (hers) story and stay tuned for updates.
©Trish Valicenti/The Gourmet Gazette
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