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News Science

Nicolas Cage To Return Rare Stolen Dinosaur Skull To Mongolia (nytimes.com) 95

HughPickens.com writes: Nicolas Cage is known as an avid collector, with interests that include real estate, rare cars and comic books: In 2011, he sold a like-new copy of Action Comics No. 1, which featured the first appearance of Superman, for $2.1 million. Now Katie Rogers reports at the NY Times that Cage has agreed to turn over the skull of a Tyrannosaurus bataar. It was the star artifact in a natural history-themed luxury auction in Manhattan, and was sold for $276,000 to an anonymous buyer eight years ago. "Cultural artifacts such as this Bataar Skull represent a part of Mongolian national cultural heritage," says Glenn Sorge. "It belongs to the people of Mongolia. These priceless antiquities are not souvenirs to be sold to private collectors or hobbyists." Several skeletons of the Tyrannosaurus bataar, a large, carnivorous dinosaur that was a close relative of Tyrannosaurus rex, have been returned to Mongolia in recent years. The private sales of such artifacts have worried paleontologists because it makes it harder for the scientific community to learn more about how the dinosaurs once lived. "We're losing science, we're losing education, we're losing valuable specimens," says Kevin Padian, a paleontologist at University of California, Berkeley.
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Nicolas Cage To Return Rare Stolen Dinosaur Skull To Mongolia

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  • That man is a national treasure.
  • Cagey guy
    That Nicholas Cage
    Two point one million
    For a comic book they paid
    He's returning the dinosaur
    skull today
    'Cus the Ghost Rider one is
    Way cooler, they say.

    Burma Sahve

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @09:34PM (#51168977)
    now he'll focus on his core competencies.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @09:35PM (#51168981) Homepage Journal

    But I'm not sure a dinosaur skull counts as a cultural artifact, unless it was looted from the temple of a dinosaur worshipping cult or something.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @09:43PM (#51169005) Journal

      not sure a dinosaur skull counts as a cultural artifact, unless it was looted from the temple of a dinosaur worshipping cult or something.

      It's happened before. [debate.org]

    • It's like how the moon rocks are part of our cultural heritage because we went there and got them. It's not required that we be present at time the rocks were formed.
      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        well.. yes and no.

        the moon rocks only became cultural heritage of the USA after USA got them. However.. Would you count the ruins the Mongol horde created as mongolian cultural heritage?

        Obviously they had no standing actual legal claim to the fossil, otherwise it would have been returned already, so I'm unsure why it was described as stolen. I just wish Cage got some assurances(however feeble they may be) that the skeleton doesn't get sold again, because that would be a nice pretty scam for the mongolians.

    • I guess you could say he's Bringing Out the Dead.
    • by naris ( 830549 )
      Apparently Mongolia must be a nation of Paleontologists. Paleontology is taught too all Mongolian children at a very young age as it is deeply embedded in Mongolia's Culture!
    • I completely agree with you. It's not a cultural artifact. It's a creature that died millions of years before homo sapiens existed and Mongolia didn't exist in any way shape or form. The indian subcontinent had not yet "barreled" into asia.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @09:41PM (#51169001)

    I get the whole wanting it back thing.... but how is it in any way cultural? It was dead and fossilized before human culture was ever a thing. Nobody for the most part even knew the things where in the ground until what the last hundred years or so?

    • not only is it not cultural, it'as not an artefact either, an "artefact" is an "artificially made" object. Still think it's part of Mongolian "national heritage" in a sense though.
  • free trade (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    who gets to interfere in the sacred contract between buyer and seller.

    buncha sjws, screaming about national cultural heritage

    amirite?

    • Probably a Poe, but if not this doesn't really work when the skull was stolen from its original owners beforehand.
  • I ruined the joke already, but it was fun.
    Does Nicolas Cage collect rediculously rare videogames? Because I have tons.

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @10:21PM (#51169119)
    Keep the skull.
  • That is the best Slashdot headline of 2015, bar none.

    Thank you and Merry Christmas/Happy New Year to everyone, even the Anonymous Cowards. Let me leave you with this traditional seasonal music:

    https://youtu.be/0A8KT365wlA [youtu.be]

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      There have been some epic ones, especially the ones where we found out about all the backdoors in every product, and all the ones where rooms full of people who don't understand encryption talk about it because they saw a movie or something.

      But I have to concur- this one involves Nicolas Cage AND a dinosaur AND theft. Bingo!

  • When primitive screwheads destroy it during a period of civil unrest due to their religious beliefs.

    We've lost a lot to isis and the taliban.

    Hopefully the bhuddists of Mongolia can keep the items safe.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    At the very least, we should take a casting of items before they are returned and perhaps laser surveys of things too large to protect.

    • When primitive screwheads destroy it during a period of civil unrest due to their religious beliefs.

      We've lost a lot to isis and the taliban.

      Hopefully the bhuddists of Mongolia can keep the items safe.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      At the very least, we should take a casting of items before they are returned and perhaps laser surveys of things too large to protect.

      Unfortunately the facilities in Mongolia aren't that great. The main museum where dinosaur bones are kept has suffered water damage. Its likely this skull will just rot (or whatever dinosaur bones do).

  • by Gumbercules!! ( 1158841 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2015 @11:32PM (#51169403)
    Presumably he'll be returning it, on fire, on top of a motorcycle?
  • I remember a similar auction being written about in the new yorker. Was very interesting. This particular dinosaur only is found in mongolia so virtually every one has been smuggled out illegally. The article covers an american collector who swares that he didn't smuggle it out of china, but it ruined or nearly ruined him simply being in possession of it!

    http://www.newyorker.com/magaz... [newyorker.com]

  • But I bet Disney already green-lighted it...

  • Put the Dinosaur back in Mongolia

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • What's interesting about this story is not that he returned it.
    Sure, that was nice of him and all.

    But the real story here is that Nicholas Cage stole a dinosaur skull to begin with.
    That has got to be among the coolest fucking things I've ever heard about a celebrity doing.

    I hope this blows up in memedom.

    • by cshark ( 673578 )

      (Okay, technically, it was the other guy that stole it, but being in possession of a stolen artifact is still very Indiana Jones.)

    • What's interesting about this story is not that he returned it. Sure, that was nice of him and all.

      But the real story here is that Nicholas Cage stole a dinosaur skull to begin with. That has got to be among the coolest fucking things I've ever heard about a celebrity doing.

      I hope this blows up in memedom.

      The bit where he gives it back is a bit of an anti-climactic ending though.

  • Because Harrison Ford told him it belongs in a Museum!
  • Truly, some people have more money than sense or taste.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro..." -- Hunter S. Thompson

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