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August 18, 2019

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Samson T. Rex fossil displayed at Venetian finds home in Portland


Courtesy of Bonhams & Butterfields

The T. rex known as Samson — one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex specimens in existence — measures approximately 40 feet in length and 15 feet in height.

Click to enlarge photo

Samson is of special significant because the quality of her skull, which includes evidence of head injuries or disease.

The massive Tyrannosaurus rex fossil known as Samson will be in a new home next week after its public display and auction at the Venetian in October.

The fossil dinosaur will be on display at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland beginning Dec. 17.

“We are honored that OMSI has been chosen to be the first museum in the world to host the mounted Samson,” museum president Nancy Stueber said in a statement. “It is a truly unique and magnificent specimen that has opened new doors to scientific discovery about the life of the Tyrannosaurus rex. We’re pleased to offer visitors the rare opportunity to view its real bones up close.”

Samson was on display for two weeks in the space formerly occupied by the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum at the Venetian and then was put up for auction Oct. 3 along with about 50 other prehistoric fossils.

The final $3.6 million bid at the auction failed to meet the minimum price set for the dinosaur, but auction house Bonhams and Butterfields helped negotiate a sell by the end of October.

The auction house declined to identify the new owner or the price paid, but Thomas Lindgren, the co-director of natural history auctions, said the successful offer was “somewhere in the $5 million area.”

The museum was able to arrange the dinosaur’s exhibit with the help of the unidentified buyer and sponsors Comcast, the Science Channel and Discovery Education.

Samson is considered the third most complete T. rex ever found, with 170 bones, or about 56 percent of the body.

Samson was discovered in South Dakota in 1987. It has been estimated the dinosaur was about 40 feet long and could have looked into a second-story window. It weighed about 7 1/2 tons.

Samson also is of special significance because of the quality of her skull, which includes evidence of head injuries or disease. Some scientists believe Samson might be part of a species that is a subset of the Tyrannosaurus.

If that is the case, Samson might become the name bearer for the new species, according to information distributed by the auction house from Peter Larson of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research.

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