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A Longview, Washington, man accused of digging up the skull of a hog-like animal that predated humans by 20 million years has been banned from US national park lands for a year.

The Oregonian reports that David Wixon, 48, also must pay US$4,500 in restitution for the misdemeanour crime of depredation of government property.

The fossil was from an oreodont, one of a number of stout, hooved, plant-eating animals now extinct.

Court records say an off-duty interpretive ranger saw Wixon using a rock hammer at a site at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in May 2007, leading to an investigation by federal agents. Authorities say they searched his house, and he returned the skull. (source)

OAK HARBOR, Wash. — Human remains found last week at a construction site in Oak Harbor are those of Native Americans, officials said Monday.

Allyson Brooks with the Washington State Dept. of Archaeology and Historic Preservation said the remains found on June 16 are from at least three people.

The construction project on Pioneer Way has been put on hold, and Brooks said the state is consulting with multiple tribes and the City of Oak Harbor to determine how to proceed.

Dr. Guy Tasa, a state anthropologist, said last week there is a chance the bones were buried there before the 1700s.

"Dental patterns and shape of skull that would indicate that we are talking about Native American material," he says.

If the location is a Native American burial site, the City of Oak Harbor says it will work with the tribe to do what’s right. (source)