Dinosaur Fossils Auction: Scientists Appalled That ‘Montana Dueling Dinosaurs’ Fossil Will Be Sold, Not Studied [VIDEO]

By Philip Ross on July 31, 2013 4:08 PM EDT

dino fossil
A dinosaur fossils auction in New York will feature a rare find, dubbed the “Montana Dueling Dinosaurs” fossil. (Photo: Reuters)

A dinosaur fossils auction in New York City is spurring controversy after the fossil's discoverers decided to sell the fossils to the highest bidder instead of donating it to a museum. The well-preserved specimens were discovered in Montana seven years ago, and could be the remains of two previously unknown species of dinosaur.

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The dinosaur fossil in question is actually a composite fossil of two skeletons. Dubbed the "Montana Dueling Dinosaurs," the fossil was discovered in 2006 in the Hell Creek region of Montana. Scientists believe the two dinos are from the Cretacieous era, and could be never-before-seen species.

According to United Press International, the dinosaur fossil is expected to go for somewhere between $7 million and $9 million. The dinosaur fossils auction will take place in November.

The two dinosaurs -- one of which looks like a mini T-Rex, the other a relative of the triceratops -- are said to be "dueling" because of the way the two skeletons intertwine, like they're "locked in mortal combat." The Verge reports that the dinos probably killed each other during battle and then died together. From The Verge:

Two Nanotyrannus teeth were found in the body of the Ceratopsian at the site, suggesting it may have attacked the herbivore. It appears that the herbivore may have retaliated and kicked in the Nanotyrannus' chest and broken its skull, possibly revealing new details in dinosaur behavior.

Because the fossil was discovered on private property, it belongs to the landowner. U.S. law doesn't require dinosaur fossils found on private land to be handed over the government. The owners of the ranch where the dueling dinosaurs were found said they invested over $250,000 in excavating the fossil.

A museum could purchase the fossil itself, lending the amazing dino skeletons to science, but the cost of doing so is prohibitive.

Apparently, the Smithsonian Institution even rejected an offer from the owners to sell them the fossil for $15 million.

Here's an interview, uploaded to YouTube, with Peter Larson, President of Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, Inc, discussing the "Montana Dueling Dinosaurs:"

Read more from iScience Times:

Dinosaur Tail In Mexico Desert Is A Staggering 16-Feet In Length, May Belong To Duck-Billed Hadrosaur [PHOTOS]

Dinosaurs Warm-Blooded: Cold-Blooded Dinosaurs Wouldn't Have Been Muscular Enough To Survive, Suggests Study

Nasutoceratops Titusi: Strange New Dinosaur Discovered In Utah Desert Has Massive Bull-Like Horns And Bulbous Snout [REPORT]

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