The specimen nearly 3 meters high and 6.7 meters long, discovered in 2018 in the geological formation of Judith River, in the state of Montana, and still in private hands since, is estimated between 5 and 8 million dollars by the auction house.

"Almost all the Gorgosaurus specimens that have been found are in museums. It's the only one that can be bought," Cassandra, head of the science and popular culture department at Sotheby's, told AFP on Tuesday. Hatton, who claims a first for this species.

A member, like the T-Rex, of the Tyrannosauridae family, the Gorgosaurus ("fierce lizard") lived during the Late Cretaceous period and died out around 77 million years ago.

The copy, which Sotheby's claims is in "remarkable condition", will be exhibited at the company's premises in New York from July 21, then sold a week later.

Sales of dinosaur skeletons now regularly enliven auction evenings, even if it means frustrating paleontologists, who see it as one less chance of exhibiting them in museums.

In May, still in New York but at Christie's, a skeleton of Deinonychus antirrhopus, which had inspired the Velociraptor of the film "Jurassic Park" by Steven Spielberg (1993), had been sold for 12.4 million dollars, including costs, to an Asian customer.

This price, more than double its estimate, made it the second most expensive auction for a dinosaur skeleton, far from the big star, however, a Tyrannosaurus Rex left in 2020 for 31.8 million dollars.

© 2022 AFP