Isn’t it just the worst when you realize the ancient dinosaur fossil you won at auction was obtained illegally and the authorities are forcing you to return it?

Nicolas Cage To Return Stolen Dinosaur Skull To Mongolia

That’s the entirely unrelatable dilemma Nicolas Cage had to face when it transpired a rare Tyrannosaurus bataar skull he purchased for $276,000 in 2007 was taken illegally from Mongolia.

Cage bought the skull from the I.M. Chait gallery in L.A., where he reportedly outbid Leonardo DiCaprio, but following an investigation by the office of Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, to determine the authenticity of the fossil’s record, the skull is to be repatriated to Mongolia.

Neither Cage nor Chait are accused of any wrongdoing and Cage was reportedly fully cooperative with the investigation upon being alerted to the skull’s potential illegality by the Department of Homeland Security last year.

No news yet on who exactly may be responsible for the theft though it has been reported that it could be the work of convicted paleontologist Eric Prokopi, whom Bharara has dubbed a “one-man black market in prehistoric fossils.”

Over a dozen stolen Mongolian fossils have been recovered since 2012. The practice has been illegal in the country since 1924.

 

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