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Dinosaur Skeleton Repatriated to Mongolia

Monday, May 06, 2013

U.S. authorities in New York have returned a 70-million-year-old, nearly complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton to the Mongolian government.

Authorities say the skeleton was looted from the Gobi Desert. It was seized by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in New York.

A Gainesville, Fla., fossils dealer pleaded guilty to smuggling charges in a cooperation deal last December.

The government said Eric Prokopi smuggled the bones into the U.S. then assembled them into a skeleton. It was sold by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions for over $1 million. The deal was suspended. The government said the dinosaur skeleton was mislabeled as reptile bones from Great Britain.

(Photo: The skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Bataar [buh-TAHR], the smaller cousin of the well-known T-Rex, will be returned to Magnolia. Christine Streich for WNYC)

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