A RARE crocodile fossil estimated to be 40 million years old is set to go under the hammer at an auction in Scotland.

The Eocene specimen will be part of a private collection of natural history items to be auctioned at Glasgow auction house McTear’s next week.

The collection of almost 200 pieces was assembled over a lifetime of collecting by a retired Highlands-based geologist, who does not wish to be named. It is estimated to fetch tens of thousands of pounds.

The fossilised crocodilian (Plalaysuchus Petroleum), with a 92cm-long skeleton, was unearthed in China and is thought to be around 40 million years old, the auction house said.

Being in “immaculate condition” in its stone tomb, it is estimated to fetch between £10,000 and £15,000.

Other lots include a nest of fossilised Hardrosaur eggs – duck-billed herbivorous dinosaurs from the late Cretaceous Period – which could fetch £7,000, and a Gibeon iron meteorite that fell to earth in Namibia.

The 25cm-long rock weighs 7kg and is predicted to go for a sum between £4,000 to £6,000.

Items in the auction with a lower price tag include a five-million-year-old fossilised tooth from a Megalodon shark – a much larger ancestor of the Great White – which has an estimate of £100 to £200, plus a number of other fossil and mineral lots on offer for a few hundred pounds, specialists said.

James Spiridion of McTear’s said: “This is a marvellous collection that has been painstakingly assembled over many decades.

“The varied nature of the items is remarkable with fossilised plants and animals sitting alongside rare minerals, rocks and even a meteorite.

“The fossilised crocodilian is in immaculate condition with a near perfect skeleton on show.

“It is worth noting that a similar, albeit larger, example recently sold at auction for $250,000, illustrating quite clearly how important these fascinating items are.”

A Cabinet of Curiosities: Including an Important Natural History Collection, will take place at McTear’s in Meiklewood Road, Glasgow, on August 10 at 12pm.

Bidding is available in the room, by commission, telephone and online.

The full catalogue can be found at www.mctears.co.uk.