Nicolas Cage Agrees to Return Rare Dinosaur Skull After Learning It Was Stolen from Mongolia
Nicolas Cage is a dinosaur owner no longer.
The actor has agreed to return a rare dinosaur skull he bought in 2007 to U.S. authorities after learning it was stolen, reports Reuters.
Cage, 51, purchased the rare Tyrannosaurus bataar skull for $276,000 from Beverly Hills gallery I.M. Chait, his publicist told Reuters.
Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, filed a civil forfeiture complaint last week demanding the return of the skull, which will now be sent back to Mongolia.
Cage was not named in the suit and is not accused of any wrongdoing.
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The actor’s publicist told Reuters that Cage had received a certificate of authenticity when he bought the skull. Investigators later determined that it had been removed from Mongolia illegally, and his publicist said he voluntarily agreed to give up the skull after learning about the circumstances of its acquisition.
In 2012, paleontologist Eric Prokopi pleaded guilty to smuggling a Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton out of Mongolia. It’s unclear whether Cage’s skull was connected to the paleontologist.
The I.M. Chait gallery previously purchased an illegally smuggled dinosaur skeleton from Prokopi, but the gallery is also not accused of any wrongdoing.