Big John: US Collector Buys World's Largest Triceratops Skeleton For $8 Million

'Big John,' the world's largest triceratops, has sold for $7.74 million or 6.65 million euros at a Paris auction on Thursday.

The sale of the 66-million-year-old skeleton took place on October 21 at the Drouot auction house in Paris, where the 26-foot-long "Big John" was presented alongside a treasure trove of fossils, meteorites and other natural history artifacts, reported CNN.

Skeleton of the world's biggest Triceratops
Skeleton of the world's biggest Triceratops Twitter

Largest Triceratops Ever Unearthed

The final price for Big John reached 5.5 million euros before fees, according to AFP. It had been expected to fetch 1.5 million euros.

Big John's skeleton was bought by an unidentified collector from the US.

According to Djuan Rivers, a representative for the buyer, "It's being acquired by an American collector, and that individual is absolutely thrilled with the idea of being able to bring a piece like this to his personal use."

"The history behind this and the curation of it is absolutely impressive, so to be able to be a part of preserving something of this nature that was actually found in the US, in South Dakota, is also something extremely special," Rivers said.

The Dino's Supersized Skeleton was Discovered in South Dakota in 2014

Big John has a nearly 2.7-meter-long skull that stretches just over 1.9 meters wide. The dino's supersized skeleton was found in South Dakota in 2014. Researchers were able to gather 60 per cent of its bones from modern-day South Dakota. Its 200 pieces - including the 2m-wide skull of the dinosaur - were put together by specialists in Trieste, Italy to prepare for the Paris auction.

Paleontologists had named the fossilized remains after the owner of the land where the bones of the dinosaur were discovered.

"Big John reportedly lived at the end of the Cretaceous period, the final era of dinosaurs, and died in a floodplain where he was well preserved in mud. A horn injury near his cranium suggests he got into at least one nasty fight, according to some media reports.

New Space for the Market of Dinosaur Fossils

The name Triceratops which literally means 'three-horned face' is among the most distinctive of dinosaurs due to the three horns on its head, one at the nose, and two on the forehead. UK's Natural History Museum states that the Triceratops skulls are an evolutionary triumph and some of the "most striking" of all land animals.

"It's a record for Europe," said auctioneer Alexandre Giquello, who described exponential growth in the relatively new market of dinosaur fossils, Reuters reported. "We're creating a market."