15,000-year-old mammoth skeleton up for auction

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Researcher Sergey Gorbunov is shown working on the excavation of a woolly mammoth carcass from frozen sediments on a coastal bluff on the eastern shore of Yenisei Bay in the central Siberian Arctic, in this undated handout photo provided by Alexei Tikhonov, Director of Zoological Museum, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia, January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Alexei Tikhonov/Russian Academy of Sciences/Handout via Reuters

A 15,000-year-old skeleton of a woolly mammoth, the extinct giant of the Ice Age, will be auctioned next month in the French city of Lyon.Standing more than 3 metres (10 ft) high, the complete skeleton has two gleaming three-metre-long tusks that weigh a combined 160 kg (353 lb), said art expert Eric Mickeler.

“Here you have an exceptional specimen, first because of its size. It is a very big specimen,” said Mickeler, a member of the European Chamber of Expert-Advisors in Fine Art.

Potential buyers of the skeleton, estimated to be worth between 450,000 euros ($536,000) and 490,000 euros, could include history museums, foundations, private collectors or companies.Auctioneer Claude Aguttes said the skeleton could be displayed in a large apartment or hall in a corporate office.“If you want to put it in a room, it must be big,” he said.

In 2006, a mammoth skeleton was sold for 150,000 euros and put on display at a wine cellar in the Gard region.

The auction is on December 16.