A federal judge in New York has sentenced a Florida fossils dealer to three months in prison for smuggling a 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus skeleton out of Mongolia.
Eric Prokopi (proh-KAHP’-ee) of Gainesville also must serve three months in community confinement.
The government said Prokopi smuggled the bones from the Gobi Desert into the U.S. and then assembled them.
The skeleton was sold by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions for more than $1 million. The government said the dinosaur skeleton was mislabeled as reptile bones from Great Britain. The deal was suspended.
The skeleton has been returned to Mongolia. (source)
Just when you thought dinosaurs couldn’t get any older, the oldest dinosaur has been found in Africa, a new study says.
The fossils push back the dawn of the dinosaurs to around 240 million years ago—about 10 to 15 million years earlier than previously thought, scientists say.
Dubbed Nyasasaurus parringtoni, the animal is only known from an upper arm and some back bones discovered in Tanzania in the 1930s but only recently studied in detail.
Prior to the new analysis, the oldest known dinosaur fossils belonged to small, lightly built, meat-eating creatures found in South America that dated to around 230 million years ago. Read more.
Named after the demonic Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings films, a new species of flesh-ripping dinosaur terrorized North Africa some 95 million years ago, a new study says.
The species—Sauroniops pachytholus, or “eye of Sauron” in Greek—was identified from a single fossil unearthed in southeastern Morocco in 2007.
That fossil included only part the upper skull—including the eye socket, study leader Andrea Cau, of the Museo Geologico Giovanni Capellini in Bologna, Italy, said by email.
"The idea of a predator that is physically known only as its fierce eye reminded me of Sauron, in particular as depicted in Peter Jackson’s movies," Cau explained. Read more.
For decades, scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., have been looking into the heavens to better understand our place in the universe, oblivious to a fascinating piece of Earth history literally under their feet.
About 110 million years ago, the land that now sports one of NASA’s premiere science centers was home to a four-footed tank of a dinosaur called a nodosaur, one of which left a calling card — a deep footprint inside ancient mud.
"Space scientists may walk along here, and they’re walking exactly where this big, bungling heavy armored dinosaur walked," amateur dinosaur tracker Ray Stanford said in an article published Monday on a NASA website.
The imprint shows the right rear foot of a nodosuar — a “low-slung, spiny leaf-eater — apparently moving in haste,” said Stanford, noting that the dinosaur’s heel did not fully settle in the cretaceous mud. Read more.
A newfound squirrel-tailed specimen is the oldest known meat-eating dinosaur with feathers, according to a new study. The late-Jurassic discovery, study authors say, strikes down the image of dinosaurs as “overgrown lizards.”
Unearthed recently from a Bavarian limestone quarry, the “exquisitely preserved” 150-million-year-old fossil has been dubbed Sciurumimus albersdoerferi—”Scirius” being the scientific name for tree squirrels.
Sciurumimus was likely a young megalosaur, a group of large, two-legged meat-eating dinosaurs. The hatchling had a large skull, short hind limbs, and long, hairlike plumage on its midsection, back, and tail.
"I was overwhelmed when I first saw it. Even apart from the preservation of feathers, this is certainly one of the most beautiful dinosaur fossils ever found," Read more.
Archaeology enthusiasts on an afternoon tour of part of the South Wales coastline have discovered what is believed to be the footprint of a dinosaur which roamed the earth more than 200 million years ago.
The group, led by Karl-James Langford, founder of Archaeology Cymru, were studying the area around the beach at Sully, when one of them spotted the footprint.
The area around Sully beach and Bendrick Rock is regarded as one of the most important areas in Britain for dinosaur footprints. Some of them have been removed to the National Museum of Wales.
But Mr Langford believes his group has identified a new footprint and has referred the find to the geology department at the museum. Read more.
DGEWATER, Md. (AP) — The artifact-rich, multilayered Pig Point site being worked by Anne Arundel County’s archaeological team for yet another season has turned up more unusual finds — a dinosaur bone and a dog burial site.
The dinosaur bone was found during last season’s dig along the banks of the Patuxent River overlooking Jug Bay in south county, and later identified as technicians pored over the pickings at the county’s archaeological lab at Historic London Town and Gardens.
The dog burial site was discovered just weeks ago as this season’s dig got under way near the original upper tract. Three years ago, the team found evidence of a series of wigwams indicating a settlement over hundreds of years.
Al Luckenbach, the county’s archaeologist, said he immediately identified the petrified dinosaur bone because he had seen similar bones years ago. Read more.
Scientists excavated what is believed to be a dinosaur fossil bone Wednesday at Laurel’s Dinosaur Park.
It was too early to say for sure what type of bone it was. “It’s not a femur; maybe part of a femur head,” Smithsonian fossil preparator Steve Sabo, 50, said.
Heavy rain since late August has caused erosion at the site, exposing a number of new finds.
Peter Kranz, a Washington-based geologist who runs educational programs at the park, found what had appeared to be the end of a dinosaur femur, “probably from a therapod [a meat-eater] of some sort.”
That fossil was found in a pile of debris left after a trench was dug just outside the park boundary. Read more.