The Madeleine Brand Show for May 30, 2012

Controversial Mongolian Tarbosaurus auction sheds light on dinosaur black market

World's Largest Tyrannosaurus Rex Unveiled At The Dinosaur Expo 2005

Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

A Tarbosaurus from Mongolia (L) is seen next to the world's largest Tyrannosaurus Rex, named Sue, is seen at the Dinosaur Expo 2005 after it's assembly was completed at the National Science Museum on March 16, 2005 in Tokyo, Japan. Fossil hunter Sue Hendrickson discovered Sue in 1990 and the Field Museum in Chicago purchased Sue at public auction in 1997.

Earlier this month, a controversy ensued over the auction of a dinosaur skeleton. A nearly perfect Tarbosaurus — a cousin of the Tyrannosaurus Rex — sold for $1.05 million in New York.

Now, the Mongolian government claims the bones were illegally stolen from their country and sold on the dinosaur bone black market. The auction house that sold the bones said they were obtained through legitimate means. However, the sale is now contingent on the outcome of the auction house's court fight with the Mongolian government, the auction house said.

Guest:

John Long, paleontologist and vice president of research and collections with the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. Long is also the author of the book "The Dinosaur Dealers."


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