T. Rex Skeleton ‘Stan’, The World’s Most Expensive Fossil, Is Headed To A New Home

This 39-foot-long, $31.8 million dinosaur skeleton is on the move.

Stan T-Rex

The world’s most expensive fossil, aka Stan the T. Rex skeleton, is headed to the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi.

Paleontologists feared that the 39-foot-long, 188-bone specimen would disappear indefinitely from the public eye following its record-setting $31.8 million sale at a Christie’s auction in 2020.

Fortunately CNN reports that Stan will be a star attraction at Abu Dhabi museum, expected to open in 2025.

“Now that ‘Stan’ has a new home at the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, this 67 million-year-old dinosaur will be in the care of expert scientists, and will continue to contribute to education and research and inspire future explorers,” the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism said in a news release.

Stan is named after the amateur paleontologist who first discovered his bones while digging through Montana’s Hell Creek Formation in 1987. Weighing seven-to-eight tons alive, his longest teeth were 11 inches in length, which no doubt helped him devour dinosaurs like the partial Triceratops remains found nearby his discovery site. There’s also evidence of puncture wounds in his skull that were caused by another predator. 

The 67-million-year-old dinosaur bones had been studied at the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota, spawning dozens of research papers and studies over the past two decades.

“This is a new museum, so it doesn’t yet have a legacy of research and conservation, and I hope that Stan will be a permanent part of its collection and available to researchers to study and the public to view, in perpetuity,” Steve Brusatte, professor and Personal Chair of Palaeontology and Evolution at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences, told CNN.

“There are not many natural history museums in the Middle East, so Stan has the chance to be an ambassador: for dinosaurs, paleontology, and science. This is welcome news and it alleviates my biggest fear, that Stan would just disappear into the private collection of an oligarch or another obscenely wealthy person, never to see the light of science or the eyes of the public again.”