NPR : News

Stolen Dinosaur Heads Back To Mongolia

A 70 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus skeleton that was looted from Mongolia and smuggled into the U.S. is on its way home after nearly being sold at auction in New York last year.

NPR's Margot Adler reports that the skeleton was seized by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement after a Florida fossils dealer pleaded guilty to smuggling charges in December and agreed to surrender the dinosaur bones.

The nearly complete Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton, measuring 8 feet high by 24 feet long, was handed over to the Mongolian government in a special ceremony on Monday.

The bones were smuggled into the U.S. by Eric Prokopi, who according to Forbes assembled them and then tried to sell the skeleton through the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions in a May 20, 2012, sale in New York. The sale was later canceled.

"Prokopi was arrested Oct. 12. ... Shortly after his arrest, he pled guilty to engaging in a scheme to illegally import the fossilized remains of numerous dinosaurs that had been taken out of their native countries illegally and smuggled into the United States."

ICE Director John T. Morton told The New York Times that he would "hesitate to identify any particular return as the most unusual" but that the Tyrannosaurus skeleton was "clearly one of the most exceptional, if not the most exceptional, we've ever returned."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit


Breaking The Cranberry Mold: New Ways To Savor This Seasonal Berry

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving tradition. But if you're ready for a fresh take on this staple, why not try cranberries in chutney or cake? America's Test Kitchen founder Chris Kimball offers ideas.
WAMU 88.5

Recipes Get A Makeover With GIFs, Science, And Emojis

On Food Wednesday, we explore the new ways recipes are being presented, with everything from GIFs to scientific method.

WAMU 88.5

International Military Action In Syria

French President Hollande meets with President Obama in Washington to seek additional U.S. support in the fight against ISIS in Syria, and NATO holds an emergency meeting over the downed Russian fighter jet: An update on international military strategy in Syria.


Used Rocket Is A New Breakthrough For Blue Origin's Space Plan

Blue Origin, the space company founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, has sent a craft past the edge of space and then landed its rocket safely – and vertically — in Texas.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.