Bernard Piguet, director and auctioneer of Piguet Auction House prepares the skeleton.(REUTERS)
Bernard Piguet, director and auctioneer of Piguet Auction House prepares the skeleton.(REUTERS)

Rare skeleton of saber-toothed tiger that roamed the northern US about 37 million years ago up for auction

The fossilized skeleton, discovered in South Dakota, is that of a robust Hoplophoneus weighing about 160 kilograms (350lb) which hunted primitive horses and small rhinoceros.
Geneva | By Reuters Posted By: Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON DEC 02, 2020 06:16 PM IST

A rare skeleton of a saber-toothed tiger which roamed the northern United States some 37 million years ago is estimated to fetch 60-80,000 Swiss francs ($65-90,000) next week, auction house Piguet said on Tuesday.

The fossilized skeleton, discovered in South Dakota, is that of a robust Hoplophoneus weighing about 160 kilograms (350lb) which hunted primitive horses and small rhinoceros.

“This saber-toothed tiger is 37 million years old. It is particularly rare because its skeleton is 90% complete,” Piguet director Bernard Piguet told Reuters Television.

Mounted on a piece of wood, the skeleton is the star lot among 40 on the block in Geneva at a December 8 session dedicated to palaeontology which is also expected to attract online bidders.

Bernard Piguet, director and auctioneer of Piguet Auction House stands beside the skeleton. (REUTERS)
Bernard Piguet, director and auctioneer of Piguet Auction House stands beside the skeleton. (REUTERS)

Fabrice Van Rutten, Piguet’s antiquity art specialist, said the item had a “universal dimension” without religious or cultural associations.

“It speaks to all of us regarding where we come from on Earth...I think this is one of the rare artistic areas without borders,” he said.

The image shows the skeleton of a 37 million year-old saber-toothed tiger. (REUTERS)
The image shows the skeleton of a 37 million year-old saber-toothed tiger. (REUTERS)

Yann Cuenin, head of Nevadia, the Swiss-based seller, said the skeleton had been found in South Dakota’s Badlands.

“This is probably one of the best pieces of this species that was discovered on this site,” he said. “So the preservation is particularly good, the fossilization quality is very neat, the mineralization is perfect.”

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