The first predatory dinosaur to be sold in Britain is to go under the hammer at an auction near Horsham next week.
The almost complete rare juvenile allosaurus skeleton is 285 cm long and is expected to up to fetch up to £500,000.
The dinosaur - which roamed the earth 155 to 145 million years ago during the late Jurassic period - is part of a special ‘evolution sale’ being held at Summers Place, Billingshurst, on November 25.
The allosaurus, derived from the Greek meaning ‘different lizard’, was one of the largest predatory dinosaurs of the time sometimes reaching 28 feet long.
The skeleton was found at a quarry in Wyoming, USA, and its skull shows a set of dagger-like teeth.
Summers Place director Rupert van der Werff said that they expect a lot of European and Asian interest in the sale of the dinosaur.
He said: “The allosaurus, together with the T-Rex, has become the quintessentially large, carnivorous dinosaur in western popular culture. Given the size of this allosaurus it also adds the cute factor and it may not just attract interest from museums, but could also be the wow factor in a luxurious living room.”
The allosaurus has featured in books and films since the early 20th century including in The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle and the 1925 film of it – the first full-length motion picture to feature dinosaurs.
Allosaurus was at the top of the food chain, probably preying on large herbivorous dinosaurs and other predators. Potential prey included ornithopods, stegosaurids and sauropods.
Some paleontologists think allosaurus had cooperative social behaviour and hunted in packs, while others believethey may have been aggressive toward each. It may have attacked large prey by ambush, using its upper jaw like a hatchet.
Remains of small dinosaurs and juveniles of larger species are extremely rarely found because the most likely cause of death was predation, meaning there would be little left to be preserved.