U.S. seeks to return 67 million-year-old dinosaur skull to Mongolia

NEW YORK -- Federal authorities said Wednesday they are seeking to return a Tyrannosaurus bataar skull to Mongolia after an anonymous buyer purchased it at auction in the United States in 2007 for $276,000.

See Full Article

Prosecutors filed papers in Manhattan federal court to formally secure the 813-millimeter-long skull after the California buyer who purchased it agreed to give it up.

The 67 million-year-old skull will be among more than a dozen dinosaur skeletons that have been returned to Mongolia since 2012. Federal prosecutors said in a release that other items returned to Mongolia include a nest of dinosaur eggs and the relics of numerous small and unidentified lizards and turtles.

"Each of these fossils represents a culturally and scientifically important artifact looted from its rightful owner," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Glenn Sorge, acting head of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Manhattan office, said cultural artifacts such as the skull "belongs to the people of Mongolia."

"These priceless antiquities are not souvenirs to be sold to private collectors or hobbyists," Sorge said.

Prosecutors said in court papers that the skull, unlawfully taken from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, was smuggled into the United States in June 2006 by being falsely labeled as "fossil stone pieces."

They said it had been shipped from Japan to Gainesville, Florida. It was auctioned in Manhattan on March 25, 2007, selling for $230,000 plus a commission that raised the fee paid by the buyer to $276,000.

It had been marketed as an "extremely rare" Tyrannosaurus skull from the late Cretaceous period, which ended about 65 million years ago.

"The battery of huge, knife-like, serrated teeth are quite impressive and are in excellent condition," court papers quoted the auction catalogue as saying of a skull that was 65 per cent complete. "Overall, this remarkable specimen is scientifically accurate and important."



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Mark Zuckerberg testifies Oculus Rift tech not stolen

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Facebook Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg took the witness stand in Dallas federal court on Tuesday and denied an allegation by a rival company that Facebook's virtual-reality technology of its Oculus unit was stolen. Source
  • Last chance to download your Vines before app shuts down

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Nearly three months after Twitter announced it would shut down Vine, the six-second video-sharing service is being replaced with a simpler tool. Twitter says Vine Camera is a “pared-down” version of the once-popularmobile app, and will still allow users to make six-second looping videos. Source
  • Colo, oldest known gorilla in U.S., dies in her sleep at 60

    Tech & Science CTV News
    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The world's first gorilla born in a zoo, a female named Colo who became the oldest known living gorilla in the U.S., has died at age 60, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium said Tuesday. Source
  • Going bananas? Israeli zoo scrambles to find missing monkey

    Tech & Science CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Israel's largest zoo is scrambling to find a monkey who swung out of a tree and escaped from the wildlife park near Tel Aviv. The "Safari," located in the adjacent city of Ramat Gan, is asking the public to help find Kuner, a 17-year-old wedge-capped capuchin monkey who fled on Monday -- likely after a fight with rival males in his enclosure. Source
  • Baidu hires Microsoft expert in artificial intelligence push

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BEIJING -- Baidu Inc., which operates China's most popular internet search engine, said Tuesday it has hired a former Microsoft executive and artificial intelligence specialist to improve its competitiveness in the field. The Beijing-based company said Qi Lu was named group president and chief operating officer in charge of products, technology and sales. Source
  • Sonar maps from MH370 search will reveal more about seafloor

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CANBERRA, Australia -- The deep-sea sonar search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may not have found the plane but will reveal more about how land beneath the Indian Ocean formed over millions of years and where oil fields could lie. Source
  • Republicans target Endangered Species Act for big changes

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BILLINGS, Mont. - In control of Congress and soon the White House, Republicans are readying plans to roll back the influence of the Endangered Species Act, one of the government's most powerful conservation tools, after decades of complaints that it hinders drilling, logging and other activities. Source
  • Airbus project Transpose sees modular future for aircraft cabins

    Tech & Science CTV News
    From hitting the gym or chilling out in a spa to dropping off the kids at a play zone, in a few years, passenger-carrying aircraft could be entirely modular, offering all kinds of onboard services and reorganizing cabins for passenger needs or preferences on each route they fly. Source
  • Researchers to look at ways of mitigating impact of Arctic oil spills

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- Ottawa and the Manitoba government have announced $4 million in funding for a large-scale research project aimed at helping Canadian companies and agencies be better prepared to mitigate the environmental impact of Arctic oil spills. Source
  • Photos, romance novels inspire computer program's one-of-a-kind songs

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Can an artificial intelligence learn to write songs like a human artist? That's the question researchers at the University of Toronto are trying to tackle, using a library of romance novels and images as inspiration for their computer program. Source