The Tyrannosaurus Bataar
skulls were dug out of the Gobi desert and illegally smuggled out of Mongolia, federal officials say.
The office of Preet Bharara, the US attorney in Manhattan, filed a civil forfeiture complaint last week to take possession of the Tyrannosaurus bataar skull, which will be repatriated to Mongolia.
It was unclear whether the Nicolas Cage skull was specifically connected to Prokopi, who pleaded guilty in December 2012 to smuggling a Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton out of Mongolia's Gobi desert and was later sentenced to three months in prison.
The so-called Bataar Skull, which came from a Tyrannosaurus bataar
three full Tyrannosaurus bataar skeletons to Mongolia, along with a
Hayes said Eric Prokopi, a commercial paleontologist from Williamsburg, Virginia, who pleaded guilty to federal charges, had disassembled some chunks of bones from a Tyrannosaurus bataar
skeleton to sneak them into the country, knowing he could easily put them together.
Eric Prokopi, 38, said he would surrender the 70 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus bataar
skeleton known as "Ty" and give up any claims to six other dinosaurs and various other bones in a cooperation deal that might win him leniency from charges that carry a potential prison sentence of up to 17 years.
But the bones are actually those of a Tyrannosaurus bataar
, a cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex whose fossils have only been recovered in Mongolia.
The bones of the tyrannosaurus bataar
, an 2.4m tall, 7m-long cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex, were taken in a van from the storage company in New York where they had been stored in four large wooden crates.
American authorities have seized the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Bataar
- a dinosaur from the Cretaceous period - following the verdict of a lawsuit that claimed the skeleton belonged to the Mongolian state.
Unique Creatures from Russia's Vaults" includes 33 complete skeletons and other rare specimens that were collected in Asia by Moscow's Russian Academy of Sciences, The two largest specimens, a Tyrannosaurus bataar
and a Saurolophus angustirostris, loom an intimidating seven metres tall.
The haul includes skeletons of two Tyrannosaurus bataars
, a cousin of the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex, and two Oviraptors, known at least apocryphally for eating other dinosaur eggs.