Intrigue continues to surround the Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton that was sold for a whopping $1,052,000 at auction back in May. Even before the auction took place, the government of Mongolia stepped forward to claim that the bones were stolen from the country. But it's only now that a judge signed a warrant, giving feds the power to seize the prehistoric animal's remains.
[Slideshow: Disputed dinosaur fossil to be seized]
The 75% complete, 8-foot tall, 24-foot long skeleton belonged to a species called T. bataar — the North American T. rex's Asian relative. Heritage Auctions sold it to an anonymous buyer, but chances are the buyer will never get their hands on the skeleton. It's still unclear how Heritage Auctions ended up with what's possibly a stolen national treasure. When asked for a comment on the issue, auction house president Gregory Rohan said one wouldn't sell a stolen Tyrannosaurus skeleton at a public auction.
As for Mongola's government, all it wants is to get the skeleton back. "We want this dinosaur to go back to Mongolia where it belongs," said Bolorsetseg Minjin, director of the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs. Homeland Security is expected to seize the skeleton tomorrow, after which it will be kept at an undisclosed location while the court decides its rightful owner.
[Image credit: Jordi Paya]
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