Will T. rex STAN remain accessible to the public and to science?



Arkhane, the new species of dinosaurs of the Upper Jurassic (photo: Thierry Hubin / RBINS)
Will T. rex STAN remain accessible to the public and to science?
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Reinout Verbeke

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences has followed the auction of the skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex STANTM at Christie's in New York with interest, on October 6th 2020. The fact that this iconic fossil was acquired by a private person or company is of great concern to us: it is in everyone's interest that STANTM remains accessible to the general public, but also to the scientific world. On October 13th 2020, we will also closely follow the auction of the skeleton of an Allosaurus, another large predatory dinosaur discovered in the United States. The auction is organized by Binoche and Giquello in Paris.


As of October 2018, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences has had the immense privilege of hosting Arkhane, the magnificent skeleton of a brand new species of predatory dinosaur from the Jurassic (155 million years old) of Wyoming (US). This skeleton was auctioned in June 2014 by Aguttes in Paris, and was the object of an intense media campaign. This fossil was finally acquired by a private collector who immediately decided to share this treasure with palaeontologists and the general public by temporarily placing it at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. Arkhane has been on display in the Museum's Gallery of Evolution since March 2019 and is also being studied by RBINS palaeontologists, with the help of an international team of specialists in theropod dinosaurs. Arkhane’s exhibition has generated a great deal of enthusiasm with the public, as suggested by the excellent attendance figures for the Museum in 2019. The owner of Arkhane is currently studying several structural solutions that will ensure that this important fossil will be accessible to the general public and to future generations of researchers.

As for the entire cultural sector, museums are severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. It is therefore more essential than ever to be able to count on the help of the private sector so that our cultural and scientific institutions can get through these difficult times without too much damage. We therefore hope that the current owner of STANTM will follow the example of Arkhane and agree to put this exceptional dinosaur at the disposal of a museum or scientific institution that will ensure its scientific valorization and access to the general public.

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