Friday 25 December 2015

Nicolas Cage to Return Dino Skull to Mongolia

by Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer | December 23, 2015 01:16pm ET

It's been a long, strange journey for the skull of a predatory dinosaur — from Late Cretaceous Asia, where the dinosaur once roamed; to an auction block on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where the skull was sold anonymously in 2007 by the Beverly Hills art gallery I.M. Chait; to actor Nicolas Cage, later confirmed by his publicist to have bought the fossil from the gallery, according to TheNew York Times; and now, back to Mongolia. 

The skull's original owner 70 million years ago was a Tyrannosaurus bataar (also called Tarbosaurus bataar), a large predatory dinosaur that closely resembled its North American cousin Tyrannosaurus rex. But officials questioned whether the skull's most recent owners had obtained the skull legally, according to a Dec. 16 statement released by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

The statement announced the filing of a civil forfeiture complaint on behalf of the U.S. Attorney's Office and Homeland Security Investigations, to return the skull to its country of origin, saying that the skull was unlawfully taken from Mongolia's Gobi Desert and illegally brought into the United States.

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