Drivers passing Able Auctions’ Walnut Grove location would be forgiven for doing a double-take this week.
The parking lot out front – and two whole warehouses on the site – have been taken over by lifelike dinosaurs. A Tyrannosaurus rex and an apatosaurus tower over passing cars and trucks.
On Thursday, Aug. 6, Able Auctions is selling off more than 500 items from a company that ran a travelling dinosaur exhibition.
The auction has drawn intense interest from around the world, said Jeremy Dodd, who is handling this sale for the auction house.
“We’ve had people from Australia, probably 20 different states in the U.S., Great Britain, Germany, all of them saying buying the entire collection,” Dodd said.
The latex-skinned dinosaurs move and roar when hooked up to electrical power.
Then there are the casts of skeletons, including one rearing sauropod that was so tall that its head couldn’t be attached – it would have punched through the ceiling of a warehouse.
The vast majority of the dinosaur “skeletons” are casts, replicas of the real fossilized bones. But there are some real fossils as well, including dinosaur bones, eggs, extinct ancient reptiles, and even poop.
There are multiple lots of coprolites, which is fossilized dung. Scientists study it to learn about the diets of extinct animals.
There are also two elaborate Tyrannosaurus rex costumes, complete with cameras and internal monitors so the wearer can safely see out.
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Although the auction is taking place here in B.C. physically, the coronavirus pandemic means the entire sale will happen live online starting on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 6.
The residents of one Alberta town are particularly interested.
“We’ve got half the population of Drumheller online,” said Dodd.
Drumheller is in the fossil-rich badlands of Alberta, and is home to the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology, a site of fossil research as well as a major tourist attraction. Dinosaurs are big business in Drumheller, which means that many stores, hotels, and even gas stations love to have a dinosaur model or two on site.
Interest was so intense that on-site tours of the items, set for Wednesday, Aug. 5, had to be by appointment only, said Dodd.