A Tyrannosaurus skull that fetched $230,000 at auction will be returned to its native land after officials in Mongolia claimed that it was illegally imported from their country to the United States.
According to the Monglian government, the skull was surreptitiously spirited away from their country via intentionally mislabeled customs documents and then promptly sold to a wealthy collector.
After examining the skull, American officials agreed with the assessment and declared that Mongolia could have their fossil back.
"It belongs to the people of Mongolia,” a US customs official said in a statement. "These priceless antiquities are not souvenirs to be sold to private collectors or hobbyists."
The returned skull is actually the latest in a long line of fossils that have been reclaimed by the Mongolian government over the last five years, including a number of whole dinosaur skeletons and a bevy of prehistoric eggs.
While the anonymous buyer of the Tyrannosaurus skull agreed to relinquish the ill-gotten artifact, there's no word on whether they'll be able to reclaim the $230,000 it cost to acquire it.
Regardless of that, hopefully they've got something in mind for the area where the skull was once on display, because it surely tied the whole room together.
Source: The Guardian