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Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:36 PM

Florida fossils dealer admits dinosaur smuggling

Source: BBC

A Florida fossils dealer has admitted smuggling dinosaur bones into the US, including those of a 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus bataar from Mongolia.

A court in New York heard that Eric Prokopi sold the skeleton at auction in May for more than $1m (600,000).

In June, US officials seized the bones after Mongolia said they were stolen.

In a plea bargain, Prokopi gave up any claim to the skeleton as well as to others seized by authorities which included remains from China.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20855935

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Reply Florida fossils dealer admits dinosaur smuggling (Original post)
alp227 Dec 2012 OP
Earth_First Dec 2012 #1
csziggy Dec 2012 #2
NickB79 Dec 2012 #3
NoodleyAppendage Dec 2012 #4
Name removed Nov 2013 #5

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:49 PM

1. Antiquities smugglers rank right up there with endangered species poachers in my book

They've been known to contract criminal labor to destroy world heritage sites, pillage archaeological sites and damage items in their attempts to procure the goods.

Scumbags and criminals who deserve the fullest extent of the law.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:04 PM

2. My sister knows this guy

He bragged at the fossil club about smuggling in dinosaur and other bones. He'd have them shipped to Europe or England, relabeled as some other kind of paleontological specimens, then shipped to him in the USA. He was warned that it was stupid to do it, and if he was going to do it, it was stupid to brag about it.

She was not surprised to hear about his arrest. I just hope she never bought any fossils from him - she has a huge collection, most of which she has found herself, but she does buy some fossils from people in the club.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:15 PM

3. I made the mistake of joking about this in a fossil store

I was there with a friend who was about to leave to visit family in China. I saw the $1000 dinosaur fossils and jokingly said "That's what I want you to bring me home for a gift."

The fossil shop owner looked me right in the eye and said in a dead-serious voice: "She tries to smuggle out dinosaur fossils, and they'll execute her."

OK, no $1000 dinosaur eggs for me. I'll stick with the $10 shells and trilobite fossils.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:59 AM

4. Who owns the past?

So, I guess the reasoning is that Mongolia will become the dinosaur mecca with the return of these incomplete fossils? Yeah...sign me up when they get that going.

The reality of the situation is that governments use these fossils and other artifacts as "cultural currency" in negotiations for other matters. I suspect the State Dept. had a hand in the Mongolian fossil repatriation and it had nothing to do with our goodwill.

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