News / USA

US Returns Looted Dinosaur to Mongolia

The fossil of a Tyrannosaurus bataar dinosaur will be returned to Mongolia after a Florida paleontologist smuggled it out of that country and sold it at auction for more than $1 million.
The fossil of a Tyrannosaurus bataar dinosaur will be returned to Mongolia after a Florida paleontologist smuggled it out of that country and sold it at auction for more than $1 million.
Reuters
A 70-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton from the Gobi Desert that was smuggled to the United States in pieces and auctioned for more than $1 million was returned on Monday by the U.S. government to Mongolia.

The huge Tyrannosaurus bataar's skull was on display at a repatriation ceremony near the United Nations in New York, where officials of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan and the U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) formally turned over the nearly complete skeleton to Mongolian officials.
        
Mongolia demanded the return of the 8-foot-tall [2.4 metre], 24-foot-long [7.3 metre], mostly reconstructed cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex last year after commercial paleontologist Eric Prokopi sold it at a Manhattan auction last spring for $1.05 million.

Prokopi, based in Gainesville, Florida, bought and sold whole and partial fossilized dinosaur skeletons. U.S. authorities filed charges against Prokopi in October and seized the skeleton, which is comprised of fossilized bones welded to a metal frame.

"This is one of the most important repatriations of fossils in recent years," ICE Director John Morton said in a statement. "We cannot allow the greed of a few looters and schemers to trump the cultural interests of an entire nation."

Morton said the repatriation would "undo a great wrong by returning this priceless dinosaur skeleton to the people of Mongolia."

Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj thanked U.S. prosecutors, judges, investigators and paleontologists in a statement: "Our two countries are separated by many miles, but share a passion for justice and a commitment to putting an end to illegal smuggling."

In addition to the skeleton, the United States is also helping to return more fossils to Mongolia, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
        
The Tyrannosaurus bataar lived some 70 million years ago in what is now Mongolia, and its skeleton was discovered in 1946 in a joint Soviet-Mongolian expedition to the Gobi Desert, according to court and federal documents.

It was imported to the United States in 2010 from Great Britain, with customs documents that falsely claimed it originated in Great Britain and was valued at $15,000, far below its auction price.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid