Smuggled fossils returning to Mongolia

Jan. 14, 2013 at 5:25 PM
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ULAN BATOR, Mongolia, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Mongolia says dinosaur fossils recovered after being illegally smuggled into the United States will be part of a new museum's exhibits.

They will join about 500 dinosaur skeletons at the country's Paleontological Center of Academy of Sciences and Natural History Museum to form the core of a new museum dedicated exclusive to dinosaurs, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.

The new museum, dubbed the Central Dinosaur Museum of Mongolia, will include Tyrannosaurus Bataar and Saurolophus and Oviraptor fossils smuggled illegally to the United States and being returned to their homeland by the U.S. government.

The 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Bataar skeleton unearthed in Mongolia's southern Gobi desert was sold at a New York auction for more than $1 million but was seized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after Mongolia said it was illegally smuggled.

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