9-foot dinosaur skeleton is no-sale at auction

The dryosaurus skeleton is on display at the I.M. Chait Gallery on Saturday.
Bidding failed to meet expectations Saturday on a uniquely complete skeleton of a Jurassic-era dryosaurus — a long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur — so it was no-sale for the centerpiece at an auction of rare skeletons, fossils and other prehistoric memorabilia.

Auctioneers at the I.M. Chait Gallery had hoped the 150-million-year-old, 9-foot-long dryosaurus would sell for as much as $500,000, but the bidding did not add up. Two museums are said to still be interested in acquiring the skeleton, being sold by Western Paleontological Laboratories out of Utah. An 18,000-year-old, 7-foot-tall and 15-foot-long skeleton of a teenage woolly mammoth from Siberia took the auction’s top price, fetching close to $60,000. A completely opalized green, blue, yellow and red ammonite fossil measuring 2½ feet in diameter went for close to $50,000. Both were bought by private collections.

“The woolly is so special because it wasn’t fully grown and can therefore fit in someone’s living room,” says Josh Chait, director of operations at the gallery. “A collector’s dream.” Watch collectors stroll among fossils » The ammonite, an extinct marine animal, turned to opal as part of the fossilizing process. Ammonite fossils have been found in ancient seabeds in Alberta, Canada.