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Last Updated: Saturday April 19 2008 09:43 GMT

Mystery buyer strikes dino deal

The Triceratop's head

Triceratops up close

A rare skeleton of a Triceratops that's 65 million years old has gone under the hammer for about half a million pounds.

The 7.5m-long skeleton is only the second dinosaur of its size to be sold, and has attracted lots of attention.

But earlier in the week it failed to sell, when would-be buyers at an auction in France didn't cough up the minimum wanted for the dinosaur.

But on Friday, the people selling it said a deal had been struck with a buyer who hasn't been named.

The skeleton, which was dug up in a remote area of North Dakota, in America, in 2004, is a mud-brown colour and 70% complete.

Dinosaur data
The Triceratop's head
Dinosaurs lived about 230 million years ago
There were more than 700 different types of dinosaur
The word dinosaur means "terrible lizard" in Greek
The plant-loving Triceratops were one of the last types of dinosaur to become extinct.

The last time a complete dinosaur went on sale was in October 1997 when a Tyrannosaurus Rex called Sue was sold to an American museum for $8.3 million (4.2m).

The dinosaur was the star lot of the auction that featured 150 other pieces including fossils, meteors and minerals, some dating back 450 million years.

The skeleton had been owned by a private collector, who had it on display in his own private museum, set up in his huge reception hall of a castle in Europe.