Complete woolly mammoth skeleton valued at $280,000

A complete woolly mammoth skeleton is being offered at online auction site Catawiki.

The lot is the major highlight of the Mammoth and Ice Age sale, which closes on October 9. It's expected to sell for around £170,000-220,000 ($216,299-279,917).

mammoth skeleton Catawiki
The mammoth skeleton is around 30,000-50,000 years old 

The record for a mammoth skeleton is £150,000 ($190,926), set at Summer's Place Auctions in 2014.

This skeleton was recovered from the bottom of the North Sea and is believed to be between 30,000 and 50,000 years old.

As recently as 12,000 years ago, there was a land bridge connecting the UK to continental Europe.

It's a rich hunting ground for fossils today, with bones regularly dredged up in the nets of fishing trawlers.

Auctioneer David Leggett told the Daily Mail: "It is almost impossible to find a complete skeleton of a mammoth.

"Because the bones have lain in saltwater for thousands of years they are full of salt crystals. All the fossils of this skeleton were laid in sweet water to desalinate, slowly dried and capsuled by a layer of glue for the best conservation.

"The mammoth skeleton counts about 270 bones. Almost every bone is original... not even 10 per cent is restored with plastic."

A complete skeleton of a duck billed dinosaur is selling at Christie's later this month.

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