World's biggest dinosaur handover shakes up the market

31 Dec 2012 3:18 PM | Anonymous

World's biggest dinosaur handover shakes up the market

Guilty plea sets stage for transferring hoard of fossils undefined and sends a message to collectors

Image: Tarbosaurus bataar skeleton
Heritage Auctions
As part of his plea agreement, fossil dealer Eric Prokopi had to turn over this Tarbosaurus bataar skeleton as well as several other sets of fossils.
By Wynne Parry Contributor

A fossil dealer's guilty plea has set the stage for what is most likely the largest dinosaur fossil repatriation in history, according to an attorney representing the president of Mongolia undefined the country that will receive most of the fossils that federal officials are seizing from fossil dealer and preparer Eric Prokopi.

On Thursday, Prokopi pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to smuggling fossils and agreed to forfeit a small menagerie of dinosaurs to federal officials. All but one of the dinosaurs in question came from Mongolia, where law makes fossils state property, and among them is a high-profile skeleton that received a $1.05 million bid at auction.

"We have looked into this, and we can't find any instance anywhere when one country has returned to another a lot of dinosaurs this large and this significant that have been looted or smuggled," said Robert Painter, attorney for Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia.


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