US hands over looted dinosaur fossils to Mongolia
|A fossil of a dinosaur skull is seen in an undated picture from the US Immigration |
and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) released April 5, 2016
A relative of the more widely known Tyrannosaurus, only two specimens are reported in scientific literature, both of them from Mongolia. US authorities described the fossil as the most complete Alioramus skull yet discovered.
The skull was confiscated by customs after being shipped from France with false papers claiming it was a cheap replica, US authorities said. The shipper later submitted forged Mongolian export documents, officials added.
Mongolia determined that fossils are national property in 1924, and their export is strictly forbidden.
|A fossil of a dinosaur is seen in an undated picture from the US Immigration |
and Customs Enforcements (ICE) released April 6, 2016
"We are proud of our role in restoring this rich paleontological heritage to the Mongolian people and taking these cultural treasures from the hands of looters and smugglers," said Robert Capers, US attorney for Brooklyn.
Before Tuesday, 23 dinosaur fossils had been repatriated to Mongolia from the United States in the last three years, said Mongolia's ambassador to the United States, Altangerel Bulgaa.
Mongolia paleontologist Bolortsetseg Minjin described the Alioramus as an extremely rare dinosaur and said only two specimens reported in the scientific literature, and both from Mongolia.
Source: AFP [April 06, 2016]