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Smuggled dinosaur skeleton returned to Mongolia

A 70 million-year-old dinosaur skeleton looted from the Gobi Desert and imported illegally by a Florida man will soon be a centerpiece of a new museum in Mongolia.
A 70 million-year-old dinosaur skeleton looted from the Gobi Desert and imported illegally by a Florida man will soon be a centerpiece of a new museum in Mongolia.Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

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NEW YORK — US authorities in New York are returning a 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus skeleton to the Mongolian government this week.

The artifact will be flown to its native land free of charge via Korean Air, US and Mongolian officials said Monday while announcing the repatriation of the priceless artifact.

The skeleton had been looted from Mongolia’s Gobi Desert and illegally smuggled into the US by fossils dealer Eric Prokopi, authorities said. Prokopi, who bought and sold whole and partial dinosaur skeletons out of his Florida home, illegally imported the bones into the US then assembled them into a skeleton, authorities said.

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