15,000-year-old woolly mammoth skeleton to go under the hammer in December

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LYON, FRANCE (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 high, the complete skeleton has two gleaming three-metre-long tusks that weigh a combined 160kg, said art expert Eric Mickeler.

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

Potential buyers of the skeleton, estimated to be worth between 450,000 euros (S$721,080) 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 Dec 16.

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