Monday, 21 December 2015

Actor's Skull to return to Mongolian Government

What does an actor do with a Tarbosaur skull
when he's got it home? (Nicholas Cage)
Actor Nicolas Cage agrees to return rare stolen skull of dinosaur Tyrannosaurus bataar to Mongolian Government ABC 22.12.15
[a man reported to be Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage] has agreed to turn over a rare stolen dinosaur skull he bought for $US276,000 ($382,000) to US authorities so it can be returned to Mongolia. [...]  the skull [w]as [...] bought at auction from Beverly Hills gallery I.M. Chait in March 2007 for $US276,000. [...]  The actor is not accused of wrongdoing, and authorities said the owner voluntarily agreed to turn over the skull after learning of the circumstances.  [...]  The I.M. Chait gallery had previously purchased and sold an illegally smuggled duck-billed dinosaur skeleton from convicted palaeontologist Eric Prokopi, whom US Attorney Preet Bharara called a "one-man black market in prehistoric fossils". The gallery has not been accused of wrong-doing. A representative did not return a request for comment. [...]  Prokopi [...] pleaded guilty in December 2012 to smuggling a nearly complete Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton out of Mongolia's Gobi desert and was later sentenced to three months in prison. As part of his guilty plea, Prokopi helped prosecutors recover at least 17 other dinosaur fossils.
Reportedly, Cage outbid fellow movie star Leonardo DiCaprio for the skull. How can a dealer not be accused of wrong-doing when caught handling stolen goods? No wonder "They can't touch you for it legality" is such a common approach in the collecting world. The skull is not Tyranosaurus but Tarbosaurus, that's the point.

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