Wyoming diplodocus skeleton bought for Denmark museum

Image caption The diplodocus was assembled in Rotterdam before being taken to Sussex to be auctioned

A diplodocus skeleton that was sold at auction to an unnamed buyer was bought by the Natural History Museum of Denmark, it has emerged.

The 17m-long (56ft) dinosaur, which was found in a quarry in Wyoming, US, and then assembled in Rotterdam, was auctioned in West Sussex last month.

It is thought to be one of only six near-complete specimens in the world.

Mystery had surrounded the buyer, but the Denmark museum confirmed on Tuesday it had acquired the skeleton.

Image caption The museum bought the dinosaur, nicknamed Misty, for £400,000

The museum bought the female dinosaur, nicknamed Misty, for £400,000 ($652,000), following a donation from the Obel Family Foundation.

Director Morten Meldgaard said: "To own a giant dinosaur is, of course, the dream of any natural history museum.

"In order to understand the nature and the world we live in, we have to understand the past. And more than anything else, a dinosaur is an object that connects us with the distant past."

'Early Christmas present'

The dinosaur would have roamed Earth more than 150 million years ago.

It was found almost completely intact in 2009 by the sons of palaeontologist Raimund Albersdoerfer.

Mr Albersdoerfer had been taking part in an excavation at the Wyoming quarry when he sent his teenage sons to dig in an area nearby "to get them off his back".

But the two brothers uncovered a dinosaur bone. The find led to a team digging out Misty nine weeks later.

Image caption Raimund Albersdoerfer (right) and his two sons excavated the fossil in Wyoming after uncovering it four years ago

The skeleton was auctioned as part of the Evolution Sale curated by natural history expert and author Errol Fuller at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst. Mr Fuller knew Mr Albersdoerfer.

Obel Family Foundation chairman Christen Obel said: "I think it's quite obvious and right that the Natural History Museum of Denmark should own a dinosaur.

"So when we suddenly had the opportunity to give the museum this early Christmas present, we jumped at the chance.

"Misty is an iconic object that fascinates us, and the dinosaur will certainly create value for the museum for many generations to come."

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