April 16, 2007 / 8:01 PM / 12 years ago

Prices jump at mammoth auction in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) - The skeleton of a 15,000-year-old Siberian mammoth was snapped up at auction in Paris on Monday for over one-and-a-half times the estimated price.

Dubbed “The President”, the 3.8-metre-high tusked mammoth was sold for 260,000 euros ($352,331) to an unknown bidder by Christie’s in Paris, compared to a 150,000-180,000 euros guide price.

The skeleton of a woolly rhinoceros dating back some 10,000 years also beat its estimated price to sell for 100,000 euros, while rare bird and fish fossils went under the hammer along with a meteorite.

The widespread media coverage of the auction has caused mixed feelings among some scientists.

Pascal Picq, a paleontologist at the College of France, told France Info radio the risk of a commercialization of fossils could cause their decline.

However, Michel Guiraud, director of collections at the Natural History Museum in Paris, said a market for fossils had always existed.

“Now the problem is tracing exactly where the fossils put up for auctions are from. We need scientific verification,” he said.

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