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Dinosaur skeleton worth $1 million to be seized by US government

A New York court is forcing an auction house to return the 70 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus skeleton to Mongolia, where it was discovered.
big dino headEnlarge
The federal government is suing to have a dinosaur sent back to Mongolia after it was brought over to the US on false grounds. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Sorry, but you can't keep that dinosaur.

That's essentially what a New York court told Heritage Auctions on Tuesday in regards to a 70 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Bataar skeleton originally discovered in Mongolia roughly seven years ago, BBC News reported

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A federal judge authorized the Department of Homeland Security to seize the ancient dinosaur, which the house had auctioned off for over $1 million, the Associated Press reported. On Monday, The United States filed a lawsuit against the auction house, seeking to return the artifact to Mongolia.

Officials plan to seize the dino skeleton — which measures a whopping 8 feet by 24 feet — on Friday, LiveScience reported. It is currently being stored at Heritage Auctions' facility in in Sunnyside, New York. 

"We have cooperated in the investigation process for paleontologists to expeditiously examine the skeleton, and we will continue to cooperate with authorities," Co-founder of Heritage Auctions Jeff Halperin told reporters, according to BBC News. 

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Tyrannosaurus skeltons were first discovered in the Gobi Desert in 1946 by a Soviet-Mongolian expedition, the AP reported. Mongolia instated laws in 1924 that made it illegal to export fossils from the country, according to the AP. 

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