Tyrannosaurus goes home

2013-02-15 12:05
This image shows the fossil of a Tyrannosaurus bataar dinosaur at the centre of a lawsuit demanding its return to Mongolia. (US Attorney Office for the Southern District of New York, AP)

This image shows the fossil of a Tyrannosaurus bataar dinosaur at the centre of a lawsuit demanding its return to Mongolia. (US Attorney Office for the Southern District of New York, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York – A nearly complete 70 million year old tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton will be returned to Mongolia following the high-profile prosecution of a Florida paleontologist by federal authorities in New York, US authorities said on Thursday.

A New York federal judge ordered the skeleton and other fossils forfeited to the US government this week after the paleontologist pled guilty in December to fraud and conspiracy.

Ellen Davis, a spokesperson for Manhattan US attorney Preet Bharara said his office would return the 2.4m tall, 7.3m long, mostly reconstructed cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Mongolian officials demanded the skeleton's return after paleontologist Eric Prokopi sold it at a Manhattan auction last spring for $1.05m. Mongolia suspected the skeleton had been smuggled out of its fossil-rich Gobi desert.

US authorities filed charges against Prokopi and seized the skeleton, which is fossilised bones welded to a metal frame. In announcing the seizure, Bharara called Prokopi a "one man black market in prehistoric fossils".

Authorities accused Prokopi of having lied on US customs forms when he declared the fossilised bones were worth $19 000.

In a New York courtroom in September, Prokopi's defense attorney challenged the charge that his client had lied on the forms, saying the reconstruction was not a single creature but bones from multiple dinosaurs. Mongolian authorities and US government paleontological experts believed it was a single creature.

A federal judge suggested the skeleton might be a "Frankenstein model of dinosaur parts" and asked a prosecutor why government experts had not recognized that the skeleton was from several sources.

"It was marketed as one dinosaur," the prosecutor said. "A 75% complete, but one dinosaur."

In December, Prokopi pleaded guilty to conspiracy, entry of goods by means of false statements, and the interstate and foreign transportation of goods taken by fraud.

He faces at least 10 years in prison if convicted on the fraud charge when he is sentenced in April.

Read more on:    palaeonotlogy
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Montague Gardens 18:07 PM
Road name: Montague Drive

ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - expect delays

Kuils River 18:05 PM
Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound

ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Social media is pulling you in and you have the desire to find out everything you know about your friends and you have the urge to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.