A dinosaur body-parts sale is under way at the Museum of Paleontology at the University of California at Berkeley.
In a fund drive akin to an opera house selling individual seats to benefactors, the museum is asking contributors to sponsor parts of a Tyrannosaurus rex that is to be assembled later this year. Prices range from $20 for a chevron tail bone to $5,000 for the skull and jaws.Donors' names will appear on a permanent plaque at the museum. The fossilized skeleton, which will arrive at the museum in 300 pieces, will cost an estimated $80,000 in materials and construction.
"We've sold numerous teeth, and the toes and claws are very popular," said Judy Scotchmoor, a public activities coordinator for the museum. "The two biggest items we've sold are a fibula for $400 and a tibia for $500."
Since starting the campaign three months ago, the museum has sold $9,000 worth of parts. Many people have "purchased" pieces for their grandchildren, Scotch-moor said, and a few elementary schools in the San Francisco Bay area have held bake sales to sponsor a bone.
The museum hopes to catch the interest of corporations to sponsor larger pieces, like the $2,500 pelvis.
"People have been really supportive," Scotchmoor said, adding that the museum has received contributions from as far away as Europe, including 40 marks (about $25) from 8-year-old Simon Andre Pentzien of Neuss, Germany, who used savings from three months' allowance to sponsor a tooth.