A dinosaur skull was seized by U.S. customs officials in Wyoming.
The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports that the fossil, which is worth between $250,000 and $400,000, came from a close relative of the Tyrannosaurus Rex called the Tarbosaurus. The dinosaur skull was seized as part of a federal Homeland Security Department investigation.
JoAnn Winks, the assistant port director of trade for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said that a warrant was issued by Wyoming’s federal district court. Winks did not give any other details about the ongoing investigation.
The skull was seized from a home in Wyoming but authorities have not released the name of the individual who had the 70 million year old fossil. It’s also unclear how the dinosaur fossil was obtained. A legal notice published in the News & Guide in November stated that the dinosaur skull was seized due to “violations of federal law related to imported items.”
The Tyrannosaurus bataar, also known as the Tarbosaurus, was at the center of another controversy earlier this year.
A Tarbosaurus skeleton was sold at auction for more than $1 million in New York. The fossil was sold despite the objections of the Mongolian government who claimed that the fossil had been stolen from their country. The skeleton was later seized by the US Government who claimed that it had been illegally shipped from Great Britain.
Authorities also arrested a man in Florida for illegally importing dinosaur fossils. It’s unclear if that arrest and the skull seized in Wyoming are connected.