A T-Rex returned to Mongolia, escorted by Federal customs officials.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex, or T-Rex, skeleton, estimated to be some 70 million years old, was smuggled into the United States to be auctioned off for $1 million in New York.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, before the T-Rex returned to Mongolia, its skeleton was being shown off as the Tyrannosaurus Bataar at the Heritage Auctions only to be sold to a fine art property company in Queens.
The T-Rex skeleton was originally labeled as “reptile bones” and was said to have been dug up in Britain, but the Mongolian government protested. A New York court ruled that the auction house must return the T-Rex fossil to modern-day Mongolia where it was discovered eight years ago and then removed illegally from the country. The T-Rex dinosaur skeleton was illegally imported to the United States from the UK in 2010 by fossils deal Eric Prokopi.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief John Morton explained the reason for why they had the T-Rex returned to Mongolia:
“This is one of the most important repatriations of fossils in recent years. We cannot allow the greed of a few looters and schemers to trump the cultural interests of an entire nation.”
With the T-Rex returned to Mongolia, United States attorney Prret Bharara declared victory:
“We are very pleased to have played a pivotal role in returning Mongolia’s million-dollar baby. Of course, that million-dollar price tag, as high as it is, doesn’t begin to describe the true value of an ancient artifact that is part of the fabric of a country’s natural history and cultural heritage.”
With the T-Rex returned, Mongolia will display the skeleton as a centerpiece of a new museum called Central Dinosaur Museum of Mongolia.