If you love fossils, have we got a deal for you!
A full mastodon fossil skeleton at the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee.
For a limited time only, anyone with an eBay account, at least $115,000 and a good sized garage can be the proud owner of a near complete mastodon skeleton.
The unique online auction was created by Californian Nancy Fiddler. The San Francisco resident has some interesting reasons to sell the skeleton. Besides the cash the fossils would bring, she also needs the garage space. For the last few years, a rare mastodon skeleton has shared space with the Fiddler’s workbenches.
Fiddler has also had to forego use of her sauna for the past few years, as the room was pressed into service as a makeshift bone repository. Fiddler said: “We needed a safe, dry place. The mastodon takes precedence.” Now, however, the young sons of the Fiddlers want to work on hot rods in the garage, so off goes the fossil.
The mastodon was discovered on a ranch owned by the Fiddlers in 1997. A ranch employee came across a tooth from the ancient mammal, which went extinct with the end of the last ice age around 10,000 years ago. After the tooth was found, further excavation revealed the nearly complete mastodon skeleton. Only the tusks were missing.
The skeleton was quite beautiful according to palaeontologists, and it spent several years on display as part of an exhibition at the Oakland Museum of Natural History. The museum eventually made a replica for display, and the Fiddlers moved the skeleton to the tasting room of a wine bar before putting it in their garage.
Some palaeontologists are annoyed with the Fiddler’s decision to sell the piece and doubt they’ll get the money they’re seeking. Mark Goodwin, of the University of California’s Museum of Palaeontology, said: “What is it going to do? Sit on someone’s mantle? I would prefer to see it donated to a museum. This is our fossil heritage.”
I’ve always wanted to own a fossil, but I assumed that you had to have special conditions to store them in. Now that I know they can be shoved in saunas, garages and wine bars, I think I’m going to go on a shopping spree. First step, raise $115,000. Can anyone spare some change?
Info from Reuters