A huge (8' 6" or 2m 60cm tall) skeleton of an ice-age bear has come up for auction at Bonhams. The example of ursus spelaeus, which was uncovered in the Carpathian Mountains, Romania, dates from an Ice Age 50,000-100,000 years ago.
The bear's shoulders and hips have required reconstruction. Nevertheless, this is a very impressive specimen, and is estimated at £18,000-22,000.
Fossils proved to be a strong area of collectibles in 2009. The greatest prices were reserved for dinosaurs, with a T. Rex skeleton selling for $5m and a duckbilled dinosaur for $440,000.
However, there was also the record breaking sale of a mammoth (nicknamed 'Olaf') for €302,440 ($444,680 or £280,373) in September. Even a non-fossilised egg from an elephant bird (which became extinct a few centuries ago sold for €25,000.
Bonhams' auction takes place in London on January 20.
Collectors interested in fossils may also be interested to know that a series of fossils including the skull of a protoceratops, thought to have inspired the myth of griffins, are coming up for sale at Heritage Auctions.
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