Smuggled dinosaur bones returned to Mongolia

A rare Tyrannosaurus Bataar skeleton has been returned to the government of Mongolia by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) service. The specimen was looted from the Gobi Desert and illegally smuggled into the United States; a repatriation ceremony took place today at a Manhattan hotel. "The Bataar was seized in New York by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents after it sold at a Manhattan auction for $1.05 million," according to ICE.


  1. The photos are tagged  as “Cultural Artifacts.” Not being a Young Earth Creationist, I find this a little odd.

    1.  What?

      Those gouges on the pelvic bones are clearly spur marks! Jesus was a Mongol!

  2. I’m kind of curious about where “bataar” came from. Knowing that transliterations of words can always be tricky… but Baatar (or sometimes Bator) is the Mongolian word for Hero, as in Ulaanbaatar (Red Hero), named after Sükhbaatar (Axe Hero).

    1. I was once told that it was a misspelling when _Tarbosaurus bataar_ was originally named.

      (Annoying since I learned this just after I’d issued postcards of a print I made of a T. bataar drawing, but I guess it’s technically accurate, since that’s the way it is in the literature.)

  3. Whaa-hoo!  They seized it AFTER it sold at auction for 1.05 million!  The guy who actually did the looting seems to have made off with the profits, and the unlucky bidder is left holding the bag!  Unless the seizure happened before the guy paid, but the way those auctions work, I bet not…

    1. I believe the winning bid would be paid only on the contingency of it being a valid fossil to sell. 

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