For the first time ever, a family of four mammoths will be going under the hammer in West Sussex.
They’ll be offered for sale in Billingshurst later this year by Summers Place Auctions.
The ice-age giants were discovered by construction workers in Siberia 15 years ago, and are expected to sell for at least £250,000.
The auction is unique because there is no other collection like it, and it is unusual to have a whole family preserved and found together.
The skeletons consist of a male and female, plus a teenage daughter and one-year-old baby.
It is only the second known almost complete baby mammoth skeleton in the world.
Specialists suggest that due to them all being found together and the location means that they would have died of natural disaster.
Spirit FM spoke to natural history specialist at Summer Place Auctions, Rupert van der Werff, ahead of the sale.
He said: “We haven’t been able to find any other references to a family of mammoths at all. Certainly no museums have one and we don’t believe there is another one in any private collection, so it really is a one off.
“Lots of people will be interested, they are going to be quite expensive. We put an estimate of 250-400 thousand but they could make anything. I would hope that they are bought by a museum as they really are a fantastic thing, but they could end up anywhere really”.
“The fact the family was found in the same place and clearly perished all at the same time is extraordinary because the adults are massive animals and must have been very powerful.
“Whatever caused them to die must have been quite sudden and very dramatic.
“We don’t know what happened but they were found in river gravels, so likely that they could have been swept away by a flash flood.
“The chances of that happening and the bones staying together and being preserved for nearly 10,000 years shows why they’re unique.”
Rupert put all the skeletons together himself, and described it as a very complicated jigsaw puzzle.
“It took me about a week and a half of really hard work. Each one has 40 ribs of it’s own and you’ve got to work out which rib goes where and do all the vertebrae. Good fun, but 4 at once is quite a lot!”
The auction will take place on November 21st, and will be the 5th Evolution Sale at Summer Place Auctions.