Stolen Dinosaur Heads Back To Mongolia | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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 http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Between The Laughs, South African Comedian Hopes To Educate

Trevor Noah, a new international correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, turns a sharp eye on American policy — while answering the questions about world news that people are afraid to ask.
NPR

Will Environmentalists Fall For Faux Fish Made From Plants?

A handful of chefs and food companies are experimenting with fish-like alternatives to seafood. But the market is still a few steps behind plant-based products for meat and dairy.
NPR

Republicans Gather To Galvanize, Share Ideas At 'Freedom Summit'

On Saturday, prominent Republicans from across the country headed to Iowa for the annual Freedom Summit, which supports "pro-growth economics, social conservatism and a strong national defense."
NPR

Virtual Games Try To Generate Real Empathy For Faraway Conflict

A corner of the video game industry is covering the news through immersive experiences. One game transports players into the middle of the Syrian civil war.

Leave a Comment

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