Nicholas Cage Has Bought the Stolen Tyrannosaurus Skull
There is nothing strange when Nicholas Cage bought the Tyrannosaurus skull for $276,000 from luxury auction in Beverley Hills gallery eight years ago. He even outbid his fellow movie star Leonardo DiCaprio for the Tyrannosaurus skull. The “National Treasure” actor didn’t know what the Tyrannosaurus skull brought to him until the US authorities contacted him last year.
Nicholas Cage was contacted in 2014 by the Department of Homeland Security who told him the Tyrannosaurus bataar skull might have been stolen. Investigators determined that his Tyrannosaurus skull had been taken illegally from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. After learn the case, Nicholas Cage agreed to hand over the Tyrannosaurus skull to US authorities to be repatriated to its home, Mongolia.
As published on New York Times, since 2012 the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, has worked to return artifacts taken from Mongolia. Glenn Sorge, a special agent with Mr. Bharara’s office, said in a statement :
“Cultural artifacts such as this Bataar Skull represent a part of Mongolian national cultural heritage. It belongs to the people of Mongolia. These priceless antiquities are not souvenirs to be sold to private collectors or hobbyists.”
It was unclear whether the Nicolas Cage skull was specifically connected to Eric Prokopi, who pleaded guilty in December 2012 to smuggling a Tyrannosaurus bataar skull out of Mongolia’s Gobi desert and was later sentenced to three months in prison. As part of his guilty plea, Prokopi helped prosecutors recover at least 17 other fossils, and lead government lawyer into the Cage’s Tyrannosaurus skull.
The lawsuit did not specifically name Cage as the owner, but Cage’s publicist confirmed that the actor bought the Tyrannosaurus skull in March 2007 from a Beverly Hills gallery, I.M. Chait that issued him with a certificate of authenticity. Therefore, the actor and gallery are not accused of any wrong doing.