Nicolas Cage agrees to turn over rare stolen dinosaur skull to MongoliaSociety
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Actor Nicolas Cage has agreed to hand over a rare dinosaur skull he had purchased after it turned out the artifact was stolen. The 51-year-old purchased the Tyrannosaurus bataar skull for $276,000 , unaware it had been stolen, ABC reports.
A US attorney in Manhattan filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to claim back possession of the skull. The lawsuit did not name Cage as the owner of the skull, but detailed how it was purchased for $276,000 at an auction at the Beverley Hills gallery I.M. Chait in March 2007.
The description of events match those of Cage’s purchase, which gained attention after the actor made headlines when he came upon financial difficulties in the following years.
Neither Cage nor the gallery have been accused of any wrongdoing or charged with any offences. Authorities said the owner agreed to hand over the skull voluntarily after learning it was stolen. The I.M. Gallery has previously acquired and sold a duck-billed dinosaur skeleton which was illegally smuggled by paleontologist Eric Prokopi.
In December of 2012 Prokopi pleaded guilty to smuggling almost an entire Tyrannosaurus bataar out of Mongolia. It is unknown if Prokopi is connected to the skull purchased by Cage.