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

Searching For Buried Treasure In China, A Writer Discovers Himself

During the Sino-Japanese War, Huan Hsu's great-great-grandfather buried his vast porcelain collection to keep it safe. Hsu went to find it 70 years later, on a trip about more than missing china.
NPR

Cheez Whiz Helped Spread Processed Foods. Will It Be Squeezed Out?

Turns out, the history of Kraft's dull-orange cheese spread says a lot about the processed food industry — and where it might be headed as Kraft and Heinz merge.
NPR

Proposed Payday Industry Regulations Must Strike Delicate Balance

The federal government is moving to reign in the payday loan industry, which critics say traps consumers in a damaging cycle of debt. A look at the possible effects of proposed regulations.
NPR

App That Aims To Make Books 'Squeaky Clean' Draws Ire From Edited Writers

Clean Reader — an app designed to find, block and replace profanity in books — has drawn considerable criticism from authors. This week, makers of the app announced they would no longer sell e-books.

Leave a Comment

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