How Some Dino Bones Brought Mongolia and Texas Together

A seventy-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton finds itself at the center of a legal battle involving a Dallas auction house, a Houston lawyer, and the president of Mongolia. 
Thu June 21, 2012 10:45 pm

It was late on Friday, May 18, when Robert Painter, a Houston lawyer, received an email from office of the Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. “It was a very unusual thing,” Painter told the TM Daily Post. “A query about a Tyrannosaurus skeleton.” 

President Elbegdorj was concerned about a skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus bataar slated for auction in New York on May 20. The Tyrannosaurus bataar, a close relative of the T. rex, has only been unearthed in the Nemegt Basin in the Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, and the Mongolian government believed this specimen had been smuggled out of the country. (Under Mongolian law dating back to the 1920s, fossils belong to the Mongolian people.)

Earlier that week, Elbegdorj, through a representative of the Mongolian government, had asked Dallas-based Heritage Auctions to delay the sale of the dinosaur until its ownership could be determined. When they

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