“Stocky Dragon” A Heavyweight version of Velociraptor from Romania

Balaur bondoc – “Stocky Dragon” with “Double” Killing Claws

Adorning the front cover of the scientific journal “The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” is Balaur bondoc – a new species of predatory dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous – think Velociraptor but with two killing claws on each hind limb.  This beefy dinosaur, estimated at something a little larger than your average Christmas turkey, represents a new type of Theropod, and one of the best preserved from Late Cretaceous Europe.

The partial remains were found in Romania.  Although far from complete; consisting of dorsal vertebrae and some elements of the ribs, sacral vertebrae and parts of the pelvis and importantly an almost complete left leg (lower portions), fragments of the right leg plus the arms and parts of the hands, scientists are claiming that this is the most complete Theropod skeleton found in Upper Cretaceous European strata to date.

An Illustration Showing the Fossilised Body Parts of Balaur bondoc

Picture Credit: Mick Ellison, Zoltan Csiki, Matyas Vremir, Stephen Brusatte, Mark Norrell, American Museum of Natural History

In a joint study carried out by palaeontologists from the University of Bucharest (Romania) and the American Museum of Natural History (New York), this new Dromaeosaur gives an insight into how animals living on the archipelago of what was Late Cretaceous Europe differed from their mainland counterparts.

A number of amazing discoveries have been found recently in Romania, including evidence of dwarf versions of Titanosaurs and Ornithopods, in a part of the Cretaceous landscape known as “Hateg fauna”.  Many of these dinosaurs, animals living on relatively small islands with limited food resources did become much smaller in size over subsequent generations when compared to their mainland cousins.

To read more about the Late Cretaceous fauna of Europe: Dwarf dinosaurs on “Dinosaur Island”

Finding evidence of Theropods in this Late Cretaceous environment is especially exciting for the researchers, such finds are extremely rare.  Indeed, there is a paucity of Theropod specimens from Europe, with many genera such as Eotyrannus and Neovenator being known from just a single specimen.

Commenting on the new European Dromaeosaur, Mark Norrell, an author of the research paper and the chair of the palaeontology department at the American Museum of Natural History stated:

“We’ve all been waiting for something like this, and the wait has yielded an interesting surprise.”

Although the fossils were first unearthed nearly ten years ago, by another co-author of the study, geologist Mátyás Vremir of the Transylvanian Museum Society, it has taken a number of years to complete the analysis, as although, this dinosaur has been classified as a Dromaeosaur, it has a number of very primitive traits.  The lack of any skull material prevents the scientists from making too many suggestions as to this animal’s diet and hunting behaviour, but from the size of the claws on the front and hind feet it was most definitely a predator.

The new dinosaur has been named Balaur bondoc.  The name means “stocky dragon” in ancient Romanian, an apt name as the stocky limbs and fused bones suggest that this animal was more robust than the graceful, almost delicate Velociraptors and other small Dromaeosaurs.  It may well have been feathered, an aid to insulation as heat loss from the body of an active, small dinosaur could have been a major problem.

It may have been related to Velociraptor, and it was approximately the same size at around 150-200 cm in length, but it did have many notable differences.

Stephen Brusatte, a graduate student at Columbia University and an authority on Theropods commentated:

“Balaur is a new breed of predatory dinosaur.  Its anatomy shows that it probably hunted in a different way than its less stocky relatives.  Compared to Velociraptor, Balaur was probably more of a kick-boxer than a sprinter, and it might have been able to take down larger animals than itself, as many carnivores do today.”

Zoltán Csiki (University of Bucharest), stated that this new species, was unlike other meat-eating dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous, although a Dromaeosaur, it possessed more primitive features than other Dromaeosaurs, so placing it in the dinosaur family tree was problematical.  Many European Late Cretaceous dinosaur faunas were peculiar to a particular region and on the ancient archipelagos that made up the landscape of that part of Europe that remained above sea level, it is likely that individual islands had their own distinct and unique flora and fauna, just like the Galapagos islands today.

B. bondoc has twenty unique features when compared to its nearest relatives, including a re-evolved functional big toe with a large claw that can be hyper-extended, presumably to slash prey.  This feature, when combined with the large claw on the second toe that is typical of Balaur’s relatives such as Velociraptor makes the new species double-clawed.  How the claws were used to attack prey is unknown, the lack of skull material is a serious obstacle to further research in this area but an analysis of the partial pelvis indicates that B. bondoc had very strong, powerful legs.  Finally, its hand is atrophied and some of the bones are fused, features that would have made grasping difficult, perhaps this dinosaur lunged at prey with its head, whilst other “raptors” used their agility and grasping hands to capture small animals.

The Fossilised Lower Leg (left leg) Showing the Double “Killing” Claws

Double-killing claw

Picture Credit: Mick Ellison, Zoltan Csiki, Matyas Vremir, Stephan Brusatte, Mark Norrell, American Museum of Natural History

The picture shows the lower left leg of B. bondoc the articulated first and second toes seem to be hyper-extended leading to the conclusion that this particular fearsome predator may have been able to articulate these claws and use them to attack other dinosaurs.

To view the killing claw of a Velociraptor and other dinosaur items: Dinosaur Craft Ideas for Kids

Oetzi – The Iceman may not have been Murdered but a Chieftain

New Research Suggests Ceremonial Burial for Oetzi – The Iceman

The body of a Stone Age tribesman found high up in an Alpine pass, who once was thought to have been the victim of an ambush and killed may have been a Stone Age VIP who was given a ceremonial burial.

The prehistoric hunter known as Oetzi the Iceman may have been ceremonially buried, awarded a great honour by his tribe, rather than murdered as was previously thought, in a new study carried out by the National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography in Rome (Italy).  Oetzi, was found in 1991 by a team of hikers, his body was gradually being exposed as glacial ice melted away.  At first, he was thought to be the corpse of a climber or hiker, someone who perhaps got into difficulties on the mountain.  It was only later, when the body was properly studied that the true age of Oetzi was discovered.

The research team led by Luca Bondioli of the National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography have put forward a new interpretation of the evidence.  They suggest that Oetzi died lower down the valley but was carried up to the 3,200 metre-high Alpine pass for a ceremonial or ritual burial.  The number of artefacts found in close proximity and analysis of pollen found at the scene and in the body suggest that far from being killed in an ambush in the Alpine pass, Oetzi was carried to his final resting place.  The team speculate that he could have been an important figure in his tribe or village – perhaps even a chieftain.

It is likely that Oetzi did meet a violent end, there is evidence of traumatic injury, an arrowhead lodged in his shoulder for example, but in a report published in the scientific journal “Antiquity” the Italian team state that Oetzi was originally interred on a rock platform before the elements moved his body.

An Examination of Oetzi – A Chieftain?

Picture Credit: BBC News

Analysis of pollen from cereals found in his preserved stomach suggest that the mummified Oetzi died sometime in the spring.  Pollen found in the ice that entombed him suggests that the body fell there, or was placed during the summer.  This would also explain why so  many valuable objects were found near his body, had he been ambushed and murdered it is likely his attackers would have taken away these items.

Oetzi lived approximately 5,300 years ago, a time when stone tools were gradually being replaced by metal ones (the Copper Age or Chalcolithic) – an important time in the history of civilisation and the mummified remains of this 45 year-old man (approximately) has provided archaeologists with tremendous amounts of data about our ancestors.

Oetzi, the objects found with him and even a restoration of the clothes that he wore can be seen at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology.

Chinese Scientists Announce Discovery of New Genus of Horned Dinosaur

Sinoceratops zhuchengensis - Rewriting the History of the Horned Dinosaurs

A new genus of horned dinosaur has been announced by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  This new genus of Ceratopsian (horned dinosaur) has characteristics of both the short-frilled Centrosaurinae and the long-frilled Chasmosaurinae.  It could lead to a re-think of the entire horned dinosaur family and this discovery sheds further light on the migration of Ceratopsians across northern latitudes.

The fossils were excavated in January 2008 in Zhucheng City in the eastern part of Shandong Province, a province in the far eastern part of China.  In a statement from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, this new genus Sinoceratops zhuchengensis - (the name means “Chinese Horned Face from Zhucheng City”) was formally introduced to the press at a special media briefing.  This area of China is already well-known for the range of Late Cretaceous dinosaur fossils, including Hadrosaurs and Tyrannosaurids, but the discovery of a Ceratopsian with a huge, neck shield resembling the horned dinosaurs of North America is an exceptional event.

Commenting on the discovery, Research Fellow Xu Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (Chinese Academy of Sciences) stated:

“It [Sinoceratops] was identified only quite recently.  Its skull is at least 180cm long and 105cm wide.  It has a 30cm long horn on its face and at least 10 crooked, smaller horns on the top of its head.”

It was Xu Xing and his team who were given the responsibility of formally naming and describing this new dinosaur, one that has characteristics of both the main types of Ceratopsian groups.  Sinoceratops has a large single horn over the nose, a characteristic of the Centrosaurine type of horned dinosaur, but Sinoceratops also has a large neck frill a characteristic associated with the other group of horned dinosaurs, the Chasmosaurines.

An Artist’s Impression of Sinoceratops zhuchengensis

Picture Credit: Xinhua/Fan Changguo

Resembling the North American Centrosaurus, a horned dinosaur whose numerous remains have been found in many bone beds in Alberta, dating from the Campanian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous, Sinoceratops has been classified as a basal Centrosaurine, but it is much larger than other members of this horned dinosaur family.  It is closer in size to the basal Chasmosaurinae.  It is the first long-frilled genus of horned dinosaur to be discovered in China.  Prior to the discovery of Sinoceratops, the Ceratopsians with large neck-frills were exclusively restricted to western North America.  This new dinosaur genus has implications for the current theories on the evolution of Ceratopsians and it has changed the views held by scientists on the biogeographical distribution of Dinosauria genera.

The basal Ceratopsians, animals such as Protoceratops, Bagaceratops and Breviceratops are known from fossil finds from Asia.  It seems likely that the horned dinosaur clade evolved in Asia, but some time after these animals evolved they migrated eastwards across Asian/North American land bridges.  The North American migrants diverged into two main types, primitive forms that retained the morphology of the basal Ceratopsians of Asia and new types of larger Ceratopsian, with more ornate and much bigger horns and neck frills – animals such as Centrosaurus, Chasmosaurus and Triceratops.  Scientists have remained puzzled over why some New World Ceratopsians retained their primitive traits, perhaps these animals filled a specific niche in North America and had no need to adapt or evolve to any great extent.  Now scientists have the added complication of a Chinese Ceratopsian that shows the same anatomical and morphological characteristics of the advanced Ceratopsians of Canada and the United States.

The Prepared Fossilised Skeleton of S. zhuchengensis

Sinoceratops? This may not be Sinoceratops material (see comment).

Picture Credit: Xinhua/ Fan Changguo

The picture shows the fossils of this new type of dinosaur, the skull can be seen towards the right of the picture.

Commenting on the implications that the discovery of Sinoceratops may have, Xu Xing said:

“It blurs the distinctions between two types of Ceratops.  It [Sinoceratops] bears features of Centrosaurinae, a group of Ceratops that are smaller in size, but its size resembles Chasmosaurinae, the giants of the Ceratops.”

Xu and his colleagues said the discovery provided proof that supported the hypothesis of the horned dinosaurs’ migration from Asia to North America.

Chinese scientists have found at least ten dinosaur species in Zhucheng City in three rounds of excavation since the 1960s including Tyrannosaurs and Hadrosaurs.

Xu Xing has been responsible for the naming and describing of a number of Chinese dinosaurs including the bizarre Gigantoraptor which was discovered when Xu Xing was filming a television documentary featuring another dinosaur genus he was working on.

To view a model of Gigantoraptor and other dinosaur models: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Toys

Chinese Fossils Make Debut at Cincinnati Museum

Fossils from the Henan Province (China) on Display at Cincinnati Museum Centre

Some huge vertebrae from a recently discovered Titanosaur and the remarkably preserved nest of an Oviraptor are on display at the Cincinnati Museum Centre from August 27th until mid October.  The museum, located on Western Avenue, Cincinnati (Ohio) has developed a strong partnership with Henan Geological Museum and as a result they have been able to obtain permission to display some of the spectacular finds from Henan.

Henan Province is in eastern China, and is one of the most heavily populated administrative regions on the planet.  It has provided a huge range of dinosaur and other vertebrate specimens over the last fifty years or so, with much of the material unearthed from strata dating from the Lower Cretaceous.  The fossils on display include a 3 metre long rib bone and some of the huge caudal vertebrae (tail bones) of an enormous Titanosaur (long-necked dinosaur).  Palaeontologists assigned by the Chinese Academy of Sciences from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (Beijing) uncovered the fossils with the help of local residents.  The remains were identified as a new species and this animal has been formerly named and described (Huanghetitan ruyangensis).  Scientists estimate that this Chinese Titanosaur measured over 30 metres long, although such estimates are difficult to make from the remains uncovered so far (sacral vertebrae, ten proximal caudal vertebrae, part of the pelvis).

The Giant Dinosaur Vertebrae on Display at the Cincinnati Museum Centre

Picture Credit: AP Photo/Al Behrman

The picture shows, the Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the Cincinnati Museum Centre, Glenn Storrs and Stephanie Lowe viewing the huge tail bones of the gigantic Titanosaur, a dinosaur that is unique to Henan Province.  This is the first time these fossils have been put on display in the United States.

Also part of the exhibit is a fossilised Macroenlongatoolithus nest.  This particular fossil, one of the best preserved examples of a dinosaur nest in the world, contains twenty-six eggs arranged in pairs.  Although, scientists cannot be certain what dinosaur laid the eggs, it is likely that Macroenlongatoolithus was a member of the Oviraptorosauria.  Oviraptor fossils are known from the northern hemisphere, most of them have been found in China.  These dinosaurs were extremely bird-like, not only in their general anatomy but also in the presence of a beak and the shoulders were strengthened by a collarbone.  Some palaeontologists have suggested that these animals may actually have been birds instead of dinosaurs.

The Fossil Dinosaur Nest from Henan Province On Display

A nest of fossilised dinosaur eggs

Picture Credit: Cincinnati Museum Centre

The fossils on display highlight the Cincinnati Museum’s international partnership with Henan Geological Museum.  A number of dignitaries, including the Henan Geological Museum president; toured the Museum yesterday when the exhibition opened.

Dr. Glenn Storrs commented:

“This international partnership represents a new collaboration between the Henan Geological Museum and the Cincinnati Museum Centre, and highlights the scientific and educational benefit we can derive from sharing specimens.  By sharing discoveries and insight with one another, we can both grown as institutions of education and innovation.”

Everything Dinosaur Blog Featured in “Fifty Best Blogs for Palaeontology Students”

Everything Dinosaur Blog – One of the Fifty Best for Palaeontologists

The Everything Dinosaur web log, our little creation (not so little now with 1,200 articles), has been included in a list compiled by bachelorsdegree.org as one of the best places on the Internet to find information on palaeontology and related subjects.

We are very honoured to be awarded this accolade, one of many that have come our way since we started writing back in May 2007.  Bachelor’s degree.org is an American based organisation that compiles information to help students work out which degree is best for them and supports a data-bank about on line colleges and other educational establishments that can help.

Working as a sort of “one stop shop” for degrees, Bachelor’s degree.org sets out to furnish students with the best information available on the range of degrees that on line institutions offer, in a recent blog post they focused on the Earth Sciences and nominated the Everything Dinosaur blog as a resource site for palaeontology students.

We were recommended as a website to visit:

“To read the latest palaeontology news and commentary on big issues in the field.”

The Everything Dinosaur web log aims to provide a resource for students, parents, teachers, scientists and dinosaur fans providing information on the latest discoveries and news.  It is nice to know that our work is appreciated, with something approaching 150,000 page views each month we certainly have a popular web log.

Triceratops Art

Talented Artists Show Off Their Dinosaur Drawing Skills

Team members at Everything Dinosaur came across this super Triceratops dinosaur artwork, created by Australian artist Kate Rohde.  As a supplier of dinosaur books, including dinosaur colouring books, we do get sent lots of dinosaur drawings but nothing quite as colourful as this particular picture.

An Artistic Triceratops

Kate's wonderful Triceratops.

Kate’s wonderful Triceratops.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Clever Melbourne based artist Kate Rohde, a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, has been inspired by feathered dinosaurs to create some unique pieces of artwork in support of an Australian fashion event.  We loved this very colourful, predominately pink Triceratops.  It certainly is one of the most visually stunning interpretations of “Three-horned Face” that we have come across.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of dinosaur books to help inspire young artists, including dinosaur colouring books: Dinosaur Colouring Books and the Dinosaur Book Collection

Feathered Dinosaurs Inspire Australian Artist

Feathered Dinosaurs Inspire Artist (Renaissance Dinosaur)

Melbourne based artist Kate Rohde, a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, has been inspired by feathered dinosaurs to create some unique pieces of artwork in support of an Australian fashion event.

Working in collaboration with Sydney based fashion label Romance was born, Kate has helped create an elaborate installation of lurid, feathered, paper mache dinosaurs, prehistoric animals and other creatures inspired by the clothing company’s designs.

The Archaeopteryx Sculpture from Kate Rohde

Picture Credit: Kate Rohde/KW Gallery

Part of the fashion collection is based around a Jurassic colour scheme and Kate’s vibrant sculptures made from synthetic fur, fabric and other modern materials provide an excellent accompaniment to the art/fashion installation.

The exhibition brings together sculpture, clothing, wall-paper, material and other unique objects of interest in a display where a fusion of art and creative activities meets fashion.

A Gorgeously Vibrant Tyrannosaurus rex

T. rex

Picture Credit: Kate Rohde/KW Gallery

Whilst scientists are quite confident that dinosaurs had colour vision and many of them were indeed feathered, no one can be sure for certain what colour dinosaurs were.  Kate’s interpretations certainly paint a picture of bright and colourful creatures from the Mesozoic – but nobody can tell her she is wrong, her interpretation is as good as the most accomplished palaeontologist.

Her characteristic intricate resin detailing is located in a number of pieces and her own fantastical and imaginative use of materials is perfectly combined and complemented in this project.

Flying Reptile Inspired by Jurassic Fashions

Pterodactyl (Pterosaur)

Picture Credit: Kate Rohde/KW Gallery

The picture above shows the beautifully crafted Pterosaur, whilst one could perhaps point out one or two anatomical inaccuracies there is no denying that this is a striking piece.

The favourite sculpture amongst team members at Everything Dinosaur is the pink Triceratops.  There have been a number of news stories featuring Triceratops recently, most prominent of which is the view that this iconic dinosaur may actually be a immature Torosaurus and therefore not a unique dinosaur genus at all.  However, it is great to see Triceratops featured in the art exhibition, and we do know that some dinosaurs could flush blood into the skin to turn pink and red, so you never know – after all, protofeathers have been found on fossilised skeletons of the Ornithischian dinosaur Psittacosaurus, an ancestor of Triceratops.

The Pink Triceratops by Kate Rohde

Pink Triceratops

Picture Credit: Kate Rohde/KW Gallery

To read more about the Triceratops/Torosaurus controversy: The Extinction of Torosaurus – Second Time Around

These amazing prehistoric animal sculptures are on display at an exhibition called “Renaissance Dinosaur” at the KW Gallery (Karen Woodbury Gallery, Richmond, Victoria, Australia) which runs from August 25th until September 18th.

Everything Dinosaur Awarded Expert Author Status by Major American Website

Everything Dinosaur Awarded Expert Author Status at Ezine Articles Web Site

Everything Dinosaur has been awarded the distinction of expert author status on the U.S. based EzineArticles.com website.  We have submitted a number of product reviews, information on the latest dinosaur discoveries and advances in palaeontology to the ezine editorial team and due to the standard and quality of our informative articles we have been awarded “expert author” status.  This award is not given lightly, the work we submit must be of a sufficiently high standard and demonstrate our knowledge and expertise within our particular field.

EzineArticles.com has been established for more than ten years, that is quite a long time considering the brief history of the Internet.  The site has millions of unique visitors every month and manages over 100,000 different RSS feeds.  Each article has to be original in content and before it can be published on line it has to be reviewed by a person within the editorial team to ensure it reflects the high standards of the website.  Everything Dinosaur is one of just a handful of palaeontology based organisations in the world to have been granted this status.

Nice to know the information we provide is appreciated.

Thanks EzineArticles.com

As Featured On EzineArticles

Dinosaur Bones found in Sewer

Theropod Teeth and Hadrosaur Fossilised Bones found as Sewer is Constructed

The construction of a sewer system in the city of Edmonton (Alberta, Canada), ground to a halt last week after a number of seventy million year old dinosaur fossils and a meat-eating dinosaur’s tooth were unearthed.  The city of Edmonton is a well-known hot bed for dinosaur bones and discoveries, indeed two dinosaurs, both Cretaceous Ornithischians, are named after the city (Edmontonia and Edmontosaurus), but city construction engineers were somewhat surprised to find a new sewer complex held up by dinosaurs.  The fossils have been tentatively described as the bones of a duck-billed dinosaur (Edmontosaurus) and the teeth of a Tyrannosaur-like dinosaur called Albertosaurus.

The Theropod (Meat-eater) Dinosaur Tooth from the Sewer

Picture Credit: Larry Wong/Post Media News

The tooth is beautifully preserved, and if you look carefully, the finely serrated edge of the tooth can be seen on the lowest side.  The serrations are known as denticulations and help distinguish different meat-eating dinosaur’s teeth, although the D-shape and size of this particular tooth is unmistakeably Tyrannosauroid.  The fact that only the crown has been recovered (the root is absent) indicates that this tooth was lost when the Tyrannosaur was alive, perhaps the broken tooth got washed into sediments that contained the Hadrosaur bones or perhaps the tooth was lost as the meat-eater scavenged the duck-billed dinosaur’s carcase.

A Superb Statue of the Canadian Tyrannosaur Albertosaurus

Albertosaurus

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture of a beautiful sculpture of Albertosaurus was taken by an Everything Dinosaur, team member a few years ago, whilst working in Toronto.  Not sure where the statue was but we think it was on the ground floor of the CN Tower.

It was a keen eyed, ground-works crew member who spotted a dinosaur bone in one of the areas that the team had been digging through in preparation for the laying of a new sewer section.  Once the bone had been identified, work was stopped immediately to permit a more thorough examination of the rock strata.

PhD palaeontology student, Mike Burns from the University of Alberta confirmed that the remains were indeed Dinosauria.  The finds include a well-preserved tooth of a Tyrannosaur (most likely to be an Albertosaurus), as well as part of a femur, possibly from the Hadrosaur Edmontosaurus.  It is appropriate to find the fossilised bones of Edmontosaurus in the city from which this huge, plant eating dinosaur got its name.

Given the opportunity to explore the excavated area in more detail, a number of other bones were discovered, located approximately thirty metres away from the original discoveries.  In a news release from the Alberta Provincial Government a number of fossilised bones are described including a vertebra (back bone).   The bones and other fossil material will be carefully removed from the sewer site this week and transported to the Royal Tyrrell Museum (Drumheller, Alberta) for further analysis and study.  The fossils are from the Late Cretaceous and estimated to be around 70 million years old.

A Scale Drawing of the Hadrosaur Edmontosaurus

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Andrew Neuman, Executive Director at the Royal Tyrrell Museum stated:

“We will work with the University of Alberta palaeontologists to ensure there is someone on site as the material is uncovered so the fossils are preserved without causing any project delays for the city.”

In praising the cooperation between different departments and museums, Andrew Neuman added:

“The city of Edmonton should be commended for doing the right thing – this is a great example of how we can all work together to preserve Alberta’s heritage.”

The Canadian state of Alberta is a very important location as far as Late Cretaceous dinosaur discoveries go, the region has yielded a vast number of fossils of dinosaurs and other Mesozoic creatures.  Just why Alberta has so many fossils has been the subject of some debate.  One theory suggests that during the Late Cretaceous the tropical floodplains and coastal areas that were to become Alberta were subject to violent storms and the flooding led to the deposition of large numbers of dinosaur bones.

To read more about this theory: Northern Alberta Centrosaurine Bonebed – World’s Biggest Dinosaur Grave Found

Man Charged with Fossil Theft

Theft of Fossils from Federal Land – Man Charged

A sixty-three year old resident of Pennsylvania has been charged with conspiracy to the theft of fossils and theft of fossils from federal land in Alaska.  With United States law being strengthened under the Obama administration, this case represents one of a number of similar instances as American prosecutors get tough on the removal of fossils and other ancient artefacts from public land.

Acting U. S. Attorney Kevin Feldis states that Robert G. Franz of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania (United States) is now formally charged with the theft of fossils and conspiring to steal fossils from federal land.  The indictment alleges that Franz took a segment of Mammoth tusk from public lands north of Brooks Range in Alaska and that he knowingly conspired with others to make several trips into Alaska with the purpose of collecting prehistoric and other fossilised artefacts.

In a statement, acting Attorney Feldis said that the defendant had previously been warned that collecting such items from state or federal land without the appropriate permits was against the law.

If found guilty, then Mr Franz can expect a hefty fine or perhaps even imprisonment as the U.S. authorities clamp down on illegal fossil hunting.

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