If you've got an extra $2.95 million lying around (and who doesn't?), the remains of a baby Tyrannosaurus rex could be yours.
An eBay listing for a young T. rex's 15-foot body and 21-inch skull is drawing attention because, well, when was the last time you saw a for sale online?
According to the Lawrence Journal-World, the T. rex belongs to Alan Detrich and had been on exhibit at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum. The university pulled the bones from display after the listing went up.
Detrich didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but in a tweet from April 10 said, "Today I will remove my 68 million year old 4 year old T-Rex Fossil that has been on display at the Museum for the past two years. .......Your Welcome."
Detrich reached out to J.R. Bissell, who runs Pirate Gold Coins, to actually list the bones on eBay. Bissell describes Pirate Gold Coins as a marketplace and "quasi-online museum" for artifacts. In a statement, Bissell said:
"Whether or not you agree with the private sale of artifacts such as the baby T-Rex, the simple fact is this -- many archaeological explorations require private funding. The individuals or groups that have the capital necessary to provide funding for archaeological exploration cannot sustain their efforts if they do not receive a return on their capital. As such, a private market that allows investors to recoup costs and derive profit in exchange for the high degree of risk that is required to fund archaeological exploration is absolutely necessary."
On Twitter, the museum sought to clarify that it was not involved in the sale, saying "the specimen on exhibit-loan to us has been removed from exhibit and is being returned to the owner. We have asked that the owner remove any association with us from his sale."
So far, no one has made an offer on the bones, although about 774 folks are watching the auction as of this writing. eBay didn't respond to a request for comment.
Detrich told the newspaper he and his brother discovered the bones in Montana in 2013. According to his Twitter account, this isn't his first T. rex sale. Detrich tweeted that he sold another one he dubbed Samson for "millions of dollars."
In a letter dated April 12, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology expressed ethical concerns about the sale.
"Because vertebrate fossils are rare, most of them contribute uniquely to our knowledge of the history of life. Each one that is lost from the public trust, is part of that already fragmentary history that we will never collectively recover," the letter said.
Originally published April 17, 8:14 a.m. PT.
Update, May 2: Adds comment from Pirate Gold Coins.