US hands back looted dinosaur fossils

2016-04-06 07:26
Bayankhand Myagmar, 50 and daughter Tserennyam, 20 standing next to a pile of animal carcasses in Uvs province, Mongolia. (Benjamin Suomela, Red cross AFP)

Bayankhand Myagmar, 50 and daughter Tserennyam, 20 standing next to a pile of animal carcasses in Uvs province, Mongolia. (Benjamin Suomela, Red cross AFP)

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

New York - The United States on Tuesday handed back to Mongolia fossil remains of six species of dinosaur smuggled out of the country and impounded by agents in New York and Utah.

The largest item was the skull of an Alioramus, an exceptionally rare dinosaur believed to have roamed the Gobi Desert 66 to 70 million years ago.

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.

Tuesday's ceremony, hosted by the US attorney for Brooklyn, is the latest in a series of returns of fossils to Mongolia in recent years, including a Tarbosaurus bataar dating back 70 million years.

"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.

Read more on:    us  |  mongolia  |  paleontology

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
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.