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Most of the specimen comprises fossilised bones from various dodo remains found in the Mauritian marshland Mare-aux-Songes. These are combined with rare unfossilised bones found by Mauritian naturalist Etienne Thirioux to form the skeleton — the only near-complete skeleton assembled in the 19th century still in private hands. It is offered at the London sale of May 24 with an estimate of £300,000-500,000.

Another nearly complete specimen went under the hammer at Summers Place Auctions in Sussex in 2016, where it made a hammer price of £280,000, below the £500,000 estimate. That example was the first composite skeleton pieced together since the early 20th century and had been pieced together by a collector who gathered the components for more than four decades.

First recorded by Dutch sailors in 1598, the flightless bird stood about 2ft 6in (1.07m) tall and was distantly related to the pigeon. It had disappeared less than a century later. 

The sale also includes a T-rex tooth, an elephant bird egg, various scientific instruments and some meteorite samples.