U.S. authorities filed a lawsuit seeking to return to Mongolia a 70-million-year-old piece of its cultural heritage - fangs and all.
The skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus bataar - a smaller Asian cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex - has been the subject of a months-long legal battle and is now being sought by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who announced the federal government’s lawsuit on Monday.
Bharara seeks the forfeiture of the skeleton from Heritage Auctions of Texas, the auction company that sold it for more than $1 million last month to an undisclosed buyer, Bharara said in a statement. He vowed to return the skeleton to Mongolia, where it was originally “looted from the Gobi Desert.”
“A piece of the country’s natural history was stolen with it, and we look forward to returning it to its rightful place,” Bharara said.
READ MORE: U.S. sues to return Tyrannosaurus skeleton to Mongolia
PHOTO: A worker looks at a replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil on display for “The Dinosaur Expo 2011” exhibition at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo June 21, 2011. [REUTERS/Toru Hanai]