According to US authorities, the stolen dinosaur skeletons and fossils were disassembled into many pieces before being smuggled through customs between 2005 and 2012. The bones are of a “nearly complete” 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurs bataar, Saurolophus angustirostris, and an Oviraptor, a fossilized egg and a “grave yard” containing the remains of at least five dinosaurs. The nearly complete skeleton had been sold at auction for more than $1 million before US authorities intervened at Mongolia’s request. The US authorities handed over the fossilized bones to Mongolian officials in a repatriation ceremony around a week ago in New York.
After getting the stolen dinosaur skeletons and fossils back, the Mongolian minister of culture, sport and tourism said that the skeleton would be the first item to go on display in a new Central Dinosaur Museum that the government has planned to build.
Paleontologist Mark Norell said in the hand-over ceremony, “The skeletons returned to the Mongolian government are very important. They are extraordinarily rare.”
On the other hand, James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said, “The fossils returned today do not belong in the hands of any private collection or one owner. They belong to the people of Mongolia where they will be displayed in their national museum.”
Source: Live Science