Woolly Mammoth’s Skeleton Sells for $300,000 at Auction

Image: Mammoth auction
A woolly mammoth skeleton is displayed at Summers Place Auctions in Billinghurst, England, on Wednesday. The Ice Age skeleton fetched a price of £189,000, including buyer's premium. Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

A woolly mammoth skeleton, complete with tusks, was sold for nearly $300,000 (£189,000) at an auction in Britain on Wednesday.

Summers Place Auctions in Billinghurst, in West Sussex, said the skeleton had been part of a private collection in Eastern Europe for decades, but was only recently assembled and mounted for the sale. The creature, which has been nicknamed "Monty," is thought to have lived 30,000 to 50,000 years ago. The skeleton is 11-foot-6 in height (3.5 meters), 18 feet (5.5 meters) in length, and weighs up to 6 tons.

The auction house said the specimen was sold to an unidentified private collector in a telephone bid. The £189,000 price includes the buyer's premium.

Interest in woolly mammoths has been stoked recently by projects aimed at either cloning the creatures, which went extinct about 10,000 years ago, or modifying the elephant genome to produce a hybrid with a mammoth's cold-tolerant traits. It's not clear what effect a mammoth resurrection would have on the market for Ice Age specimens.

— Alan Boyle