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Auction Description for I.M. Chait: Natural History Auction
Auction Description:
Natural History Auction
Viewing Notes:
The complete skeleton of an American Duckbill Dinosaur (maiasaura peeblesorum) Two large private collections from Southern California and the East Coast Outstanding Gem Ammonites Two flying dinosaurs (Pterodactyls), one from America and one from Germany A massive Woolly Mammoth tusk A fine selection of natural gold nuggets Ancient Egyptian dynastic artifacts Other fine fossils such as a Saber tooth Cat Skull and a complete Tyrannosaurus foot Martian and lunar specimens Gems; Meteorite jewelry; Zoology and much more
Sale Notes:
Beverly Hills Preview: May 11 - 15 11am - 5pm or by appointment.

Natural History Auction

(358 Lots)

by I.M. Chait


358 lots with images

May 16, 2010

Live Auction

9330 Civic Center Drive

Beverly Hills, CA, 90210 USA

Phone: +1 (310) 285 0182

Fax: +1 (310) 285 9740

Email: chait@chait.com

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TRICERATOPS SCAPULA

Lot 350: TRICERATOPS SCAPULA

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Description: TRICERATOPS SCAPULA Triceratops horridus Cretaceous, Late Maastrichtian age The triceratops is unquestionably one of the most popular dinosaurs, a herbivore that roamed in vast herds across what is now North America at the end of the Cretaceous Period approximately 65 million years ago. First discovered in 1887, their hefty bones were initially thought to be those of an extinct buffalo; this solid scapula is an evocative piece of prehistoric osteology, its gently concave form boasting great patina and texture and a warm woody red-brown coloring. Expertly prepared, it measures 13 inches wide and stands 11 1/2 inches high on a custom metal display stand.

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HADROSAUR FEMUR

Lot 351: HADROSAUR FEMUR

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Description: HADROSAUR FEMUR Edmontosaurus annectens Cretaceous, Maastrichtian stage The Edmontosaurus was one of the largest of the Hadrosaurids, the populous duck-billed dinosaurs that roamed across North America at the tail-end of the age of the dinsoaurs, along with the Tyrannosaurs and the Triceratops, just prior to the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, 65.5 million years ago. The great size of the beast can easily be guessed from this large heavy-looking femur, a part of the strong short legs that supported the animal's 4-ton weight. Like most specimens from the famed fossil beds of Montana, the present example exhibits splendid bone texture and a fine warm woody patina and measures 18 1/2 inches long and stands 11 inches high on a custom metal display stand.

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OVIRAPTOR METATARSAL

Lot 352: OVIRAPTOR METATARSAL

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Description: OVIRAPTOR METATARSAL Family: Oviraptoridae Cretaceous, Maastrichtian stage Hell Creek Formation, Garfield Co., Montana This is a single complete bone from the leg of an oviraptor. Its length indicates that the original animal must have been near the maximum size for these late dinosaurs, bird-like reptiles that brooded over nests and in some instances even sported a coat of feathers. It is complete, with no restoration and only two small areas of filling; it boasts a gorgeous woody brown patina throughout, with an almost enamel-like smoothness along its length but becoming more textured at each end, with numerous areas of pathological interest amidst the natural age cracks. A superb specimen, it measures 19 1/4 inches long.

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HADROSAUR DENTARY

Lot 353: HADROSAUR DENTARY

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Description: HADROSAUR DENTARY Edmontosaurus annectens Cretaceous, Maastrichtian stage This jaw section is from one of the last of the duck-billed dinosaurs, the massive Edmontosaurus. It is a section of the lower jaw, with a row of the ridged stumpy grinding teeth that the creature used to masticate the foliage and twigs it stripped from the treetops all across late Cretaceous North America. It boasts a lovely bone texture and soft gray-brown patina, and exhibits the curious line of holes on the inside face; these are canals called foramina that allowed branches from the dentary nerve and blood supply to reach the mouth and lip tissues. A good specimen, with one repaired section, it measures 12 3/4 inches long.

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ENORMOUS PTEROSAUR TOOTH

Lot 354: ENORMOUS PTEROSAUR TOOTH

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Description: ENORMOUS PTEROSAUR TOOTH Siroccopteryx moroccoensis Lower Cretaceous Tegana Formation, Kem Kem, near Taouz, K'Sar es Souk Province, Morocco The name "pterosaur" means winged lizards - these were the earliest vertebrates known to have evolved the power of flight, near the end of the Triassic Period. Their delicate hollow bones are most often destroyed by the ravages of time and geology and all that remains to use in most instances is their teeth. This is a fine large example, of excellent slender curving form with a lovely brown patination. Most such teeth measure under 2 inches, but this one is a massive 2 5/8 inches along the curve, almost certainly therefore from the S. moroccoensis, whose wingspan could reach a massive 20 feet.

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AN EXTREMELY RARE FLYING DINOSAUR

Lot 355: AN EXTREMELY RARE FLYING DINOSAUR

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Description: AN EXTREMELY RARE FLYING DINOSAUR Pterodactylus kochi Jurassic Sölnhofen, Germany Pterosaur fossils are the most sought after fossils from the Sölnhofen quarries in Germany. Due to their delicate lightweight construction of thin, hollow bones, which enabled them to fly, these flying dinosaurs are rarely preserved. This spectacular specimen represents one of the few finds of a well-articulated Pterodactylus. It features an excellent skull, 3 1/4 inches in length, displaying many sharp pointed teeth. The quality of the preservation is so fine that even many of the small claws on both feet can be seen. Presented on a matrix plate measuring 9 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches. Pterodactylus or "flying dinosaurs" flourished during the Upper Jurassic period and were the first vertebrates in the process of transaction to active flying. Two characteristics make the Pterodactylus unique and clearly different from the reptiles: warm blood and a coat of hair. Pterosaurs vanished 65 million years ago during the great dinosaur extinction of the Upper Cretaceous.

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LARGE AND RARE PARTIAL PTEROSAUR SKELETON

Lot 356: LARGE AND RARE PARTIAL PTEROSAUR SKELETON

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Description: LARGE AND RARE PARTIAL PTEROSAUR SKELETON Pteranodon longiceps Upper Cretaceous Custer Co., South Dakota Pterosaurs ("winged lizard"), or pterodactyls ("winged finger") as they are often known, flourished during the late Cretaceous Period of North America, and represent the first vertebrates to make the transformation to flight. Strictly speaking, being airborne, they were not dinosaurs, but two further elements make the distinction plain: they had warm blood and although evidence of feathers has not been found, many were covered in a coat of hair. With hollow bones and delicately lightweight construction, their preservation in the fossil record is scarce; how rare, therefore, to find even a partial skeleton such as the specimen here, in such an evocative state of preservation and presentation. The excellent three-dimensionality of the bones is enhanced by their being prepared proud of the matrix, the upper part of the skull and the distinctive crest being completely freed for a dramatically lifelike effect. The skeleton comprises skull, rib and arm sections and three fingers with their distinctive curving claws. Lovely bone texture throughout is enhanced by a fine aged patina that stands out strongly from the dark gray matrix, presented on a pale gray plaster backing, approximately 96 x 64 inches.

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A SPECTACULAR COMPLETE HADROSAURID SKELETON

Lot 357: A SPECTACULAR COMPLETE HADROSAURID SKELETON

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Description: A SPECTACULAR COMPLETE HADROSAURID SKELETON Maiasaura peeblesorum Cretaceous, Campanian stage Two Medicine Formation, Montana This spectacular skeleton represents one of the most complete specimens of the species Maiasaura peeblesorum ever to be offered to the public. The Maiasaur was one of the numerous "duck-billed" dinosaurs that roamed the plains of Asia, Europe and North America in massive herds during the Upper Cretaceous period 99-65 million years ago. The duck-billed dinosaurs were from the herbivorous Hadrosaurid family, so-named for the shape of their flattened, duck-like "beaks", ideal for stripping the prehistoric foliage of leaves and twigs; their strong forearms, meanwhile, could be used equally well for pulling down branches to within reach, or for walking or running on all fours from the fearsome predators that shared their habitat (most notably the T-Rex). The Hadrosaurids were a huge herbivorous dinosaur lineage that included such famous animals as the "dinosaur mummy" Leonardo and Hadrosaurus foulkii, which in 1858 became the very first dinosaur ever found in the United States, and was later designated as the State Fossil of New Jersey. Like all hadrosaurs, Maiasaura was herbivorous and possessed a huge battery of chisel-like teeth designed specifically to grind plants to a digestible pulp. It shared its world with a wide variety of other dinosaurs such as the pachycephalosaur Prenocephale; several velociraptor-like troodontids; Gallimimus, the ostrich-mimic depicted in Jurassic Park; and the giant tyrannosaurid carnivore Tarbosaurus. The Maiasaur was first discovered and classified in the 1970s; in 1977 Marion Brandvold and her son David Trexler uncovered an enormous bone-bed/nesting ground in what is now known as Egg Mountain in south-western Montana, and Laurie Trexler discovered the species holotype; it was named by Robert Makela and Jack R. Horner (paleontological consultant for Jurassic Park) in 1979. The genus name Maiasaura means "good mother lizard" and is the only female name given to a dinosaur; the first remains discovered were with nests of eggs and hatchlings, indicating that unlike modern reptiles and most other dinosaurs it raised its offspring rather than abandoning them to their fate. Nest specimens uncovered reveal that the eggs were first incubated packed in rotting vegetation rather than by the mother sitting over them; when the hatchlings were born, however, their legs were too weak to carry them from the nest, and the presence of worn teeth amongst the still nest-bound young indicates that the parent(s) would bring food directly to the nest for the first period of the young dinosaurs' life, possibly for as long as one year. Such nests usually contained up to 25 grapefruit-sized eggs, and were typically laid in groups; the Egg Mountain discovery comprised 40 nests arranged over a 2.5 acre area in a part of Montana that was a Maiasaur Island in the Late Cretaceous Interior Seaway. The present example is a sub-adult, named "Cory", and cuts a strikingly impressive figure, at over 15 feet long and with a superb woody patina to the bones. It bears the flattened beak distinctive of the family, and a particularly good skull overall; in total over 80% of the bone is original throughout the skeleton. Mounted on a wheeled metal base in a highly life-like pose, not only is this a rare and unusually complete specimen but it has been prepared to the highest of standards; the armature is outstanding, almost invisible, yet the bones are exclusively gravity-mounted with no holes or attachments created for display purposes, and the hind limbs even retain their natural articulation. In addition, the skull has been mounted in such a way that not only can it be moved from side to side through 30° but the jaws open and close as well. A world-class specimen in every way.

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