Anyone want to buy a dinosaur? Two on sale in Paris

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The skeletons two Jurassic age dinosaurs, a Diplodocus (back) and an Allosaurus (front) are displayed on April 6, 2018, before being auctioned on April 11 at the Drouot auction house in Paris. (AFP)
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The skeletons two Jurassic age dinosaurs, a Diplodocus (back) and an Allosaurus (front) are displayed on April 6, 2018, before being auctioned on April 11 at the Drouot auction house in Paris. (AFP)
Updated 10 April 2018
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Anyone want to buy a dinosaur? Two on sale in Paris

  • The skeletons of an allosaurus and a diplodocus are up for auction in Paris this week, marketed as hip interior design objects
  • Dinosaur bones are increasingly gracing collectors’ cabinets, with another huge skeleton, that of a theropod, expected to fetch up to 1.5 million euros
PARIS: The skeletons of an allosaurus and a diplodocus are up for auction in Paris this week, marketed as hip interior design objects — for those with big enough living rooms.
“The fossil market is no longer just for scientists,” said Iacopo Briano of Binoche et Giquello, the auction house that is putting the two dinosaurs under the hammer on Wednesday.
“Dinosaurs have become cool, trendy — real objects of decoration, like paintings,” the Italian expert told AFP, citing Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicolas Cage as fans of such outsize prehistoric ornaments.
Cage, however, did hand back the rare skull of a tyrannosaurus bataar, a close cousin of T. rex, that he bought in 2007 after it was found to have been stolen and illegally taken out of Mongolia.
Dinosaur bones are increasingly gracing collectors’ cabinets, with another huge skeleton, that of a theropod, expected to fetch up to 1.5 million euros ($1.84 million) when it goes up for auction in June.
The Buyers
“For the last two or three years the Chinese have become interested in palaeontology and have been looking for big specimens of dinosaurs found on their soil, for their museums or even for individuals,” Briano said.
The new buyers are now bidding against multinational corporations as well as ultra-rich Europeans and Americans, the “traditional” buyers of dinosaur skeletons, Briano added.
In 1997, McDonald’s and Walt Disney were among donors stumping up $8.36 million to buy Sue — the most complete and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever found — for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
“Millions of people come to see it, it’s incredible publicity for companies,” said Eric Mickeler, a natural history expert for the Aguttes auction house.
Palaeontologists acknowledge that many fossils that go on the block are of limited scientific interest, but important specimens do go up for auction and can, as in Sue’s case, be bought through acts of patronage.
The market remains small and “isn’t for everybody,” Mickeler said.
Only around five dinosaurs are put up for auction around the world every year.


Royals Harry and Meghan go barefoot on Bondi

Despite morning fog, the pair met local surfers enjoying winter swells. (AP)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Royals Harry and Meghan go barefoot on Bondi

  • Pre-prepared signs screaming “G’day Harry and Meghan” greeted the royal couple

SYDNEY: British royals Harry and Meghan kicked off their shoes and donned tropical garlands Friday, as they hit Sydney’s famed Bondi beach for the latest stop on their Australian tour.
Expectant Meghan donned a summer dress, putting aside her high heels, while Harry ditched his usual suit for chinos as the couple lapped up cheers from Australian fans and enjoyed Bondi’s surf.
Despite morning fog, the pair met local surfers enjoying winter swells and sat down on the sand for a long chat with leaders of the OneWave group, which focuses on helping people improve mental health by getting outdoors.
Pre-prepared signs screaming “G’day Harry and Meghan” greeted the royal couple, who have received a warm welcome from fans throughout the start of their 16-day pacific tour.
While half of Australians oppose having British monarchs as head of state, and the vast majority of Australians have carried on with business as usual during the visit, there has been sizable support for the celebrity couple at every stop.
News that the Duchess of Sussex is pregnant has only made the crowds swell.
Amid a torrent of fawning press coverage declaring Meghan the “Queen of hugs” and the prince receiving “buckets of love,” the Australian Republican Movement is putting on a brave face.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very welcome visitors” the group said at the start of the trip, pointedly adding that “Australians of all ages know the difference between this wonderful event and the questions of our nation’s identity and future.”
In a 1999 referendum, 55 percent of Australians voted against replacing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, although polls indicate support for republicanism has grown since then.
The opposition Labor party has promised a plebiscite on the issue if it wins a general election expected in 2019.