(CN) – The United States on Tuesday returned the fossilized remains of six dinosaur species to Mongolia, the country where they were stolen from, prosecutors said.
Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers announced an afternoon repatriation ceremony for the return of the fossils, which he said were unlawfully removed from Mongolia and seized by federal agents in New York and Utah.
Ceremonial certificates signed Tuesday transferred ownership of the fossils from the United States to Mongolia, which was represented by paleontologist Bolortsetseg Minjin.
The dinosaur fossils returned to Mongolia on Tuesday include: an Alioramus skull, Bactrosaurus skeleton, Protoceratops baby skeleton pieces, Troodontid egg bed, Psittacosaurus skeleton and skull, and Hadrosaurus skeleton pieces.
According to Minjin, the Alioramus is a very rare dinosaur, as only two specimens have been reported in scientific literature.
Capers said in a statement that the East Asian country is “home to the world’s largest reserve of dinosaur fossils with many discoveries waiting to be made.”
“We are proud of our role in restoring this rich paleontological heritage to the Mongolian people and taking these cultural treasures from the hands of looters and smugglers,” he said. “We stand beside the people of Mongolia by disrupting the international trade in smuggled fossils and returning them to their home where they will be studied and treasured.”
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