Tenontosaurus skeleton to auction for $180,000 in LA?

A mounted juvenile Tenontosaurus skeleton estimated to be worth $150,000-180,000 is the anticipated top lot at Bonhams' forthcoming Natural History auction.

The little skeleton, which hails from North America and is considered exceedingly rare by collectors, is destined to cross the block in Los Angeles on May 22.

Bonhams natural history auction
From nose to tail the skeleton measures 75 inches

It is thought that during its lifetime the little, herbivorous Tenontosaurus was attacked by a larger, predatory species of dinosaur as there is extra bone growth evident in both of its forelimbs.

Alongside the Tenontosuarus skeleton, five natural casts of dinosaur fecal matter are also to cross the auction block.

Estimated between $1,500 and $2,000, the casts are known as Coprolites among the scientific community.

The term Coprolite was coined by celebrated palaeontologist William Buckland in 1829. (Prior to this, Coprolites were known as "fossil fir cones" and "bezoar stones".)

Bonhams natural history auction
Coprolites: turtle or dinosaur in origin?

In recent years, academics have argued that rather than dinosaur dung, many Coprolites are in fact turtle faeces.

Bonhams assert: "Each of these five superb specimens displays an incredibly life like texture and evocative bulbous form."

Dinosaur-related items often do well at auction. In May 2012, a controversial Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton sold at Heritage Auctions for £1.1m. However, the 75% complete skeleton was thought to have been obtained illegally and the sale could not be completed.

Following a lengthy trial in the US, fossil dealer Eric Prokopi (described as "a one-man black market in prehistoric fossils") admitted to smuggling the dinosaur bones into the US. He now faces up to 17 years in jail as well as a $250,000 fine.

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