The New Extinction

In the deserts of the American west paleontologists compete against time, erosion, and lack of funding in search of new dinosaur specimens, but they’re not alone in this race against time. Commercial collectors armed with more funds dig at an accelerated speed to uncover fossils, selling them to the highest bidder and out of the reach of the paleontologists who can unlock their true value: the secrets of earth’s past.

Since an early 90’s auction netted over $8 million for a prolific T. Rex specimen, American museums have been unable to match the financial demands now set by commercially collected specimens. The sale sent a wave through American paleontology, resulting in fights for land rights, land access, the spread of fake information and exploitation of international fossils by cartels and the black market.

In order to tell this story we have gained an unprecedented amount of access to subjects on all sides of the film’s topic. From paleontologists to commercial collectors to government representatives and auction curators, our film is taking a holistic approach to understanding the complex relationships within paleontology.