Image: "Samson," fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex
Bonhams & Butterfields
Experts say the 170 bones of "Samson," a fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex discovered about 17 years ago in South Dakota, represent more than half the skeleton of a 40-foot-long, 7.5 ton dinosaur that lived 66 million years ago.
updated 10/4/2009 12:51:58 PM ET 2009-10-04T16:51:58

Sampson, a fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex, still needs a home after bidders failed to meet the minimum price at a Las Vegas auction.

But Tom Lindgren of Bonhams & Butterfields says the auction house is talking with a number of institutions and individuals, and is confident a sale will be completed in the next couple of weeks.

The auctioneer had hoped Saturday's bids would top $6 million for the T. rex dubbed "Samson" at the auction.

Lindgren says the highest bid today was $3.7 million.

Lindgren said the owner had sought to sell the dinosaur as soon as possible, leaving potential bidders scrambling to quickly come up with the money.

"A number of bidders are still trying to get their financing in line," he said. "I think we'll have a home for her pretty soon."

Experts say the 170 bones discovered about 17 years ago in South Dakota represent more than half the skeleton of a 40-foot-long, 7.5 ton dinosaur that lived 66 million years ago.

A similar T. rex fossil sold for $8.3 million in 1997.

Lindgren, a natural history specialist for the auction house, previously said "Samson" is the third most complete T. rex skeleton ever discovered, and one of only 42 specimens discovered in the last 100 years with more than 10 percent of the bones.

He had also said private bidders were welcome, but he and its owners wanted to see "Samson" end up at a museum or scientific institution, studied further and put on public display.

The female dinosaur's lower jaw was found by the son of a rancher in 1987, and the rest of its bones were excavated in 1992, Lindgren said. It was sold twice to private owners and is now owned by an American whom Lindgren wouldn't name.

About 50 other lots fetched $1.76 million Saturday. World records included $458,000 for a duckbilled dinosaur, $440,000 for a pair of Einiosaurus skeletons and $422,000 for a 17-foot-long fossilized fish found in Kansas, Lindgren said.

"This was the most successful auction we've ever had," he said.

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