Homeland Security Arrests Dinosaur Believed to Be in Country Illegally

Categories: Crime

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Heritage Auctions
Dinosaurs, too, can enter the country illegally.
Earlier this week, a federal judge signed an order directing the U.S. government to take possession of the Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton that had been sold last month by Dallas' own Heritage Auctions.

The fossil, the government said, had been looted from the Gobi Desert some time between 1995 and 2005 and illegally brought into the United States in 2010. Customs forms listed its value as $15,000 when in actuality it was more like $1 million and incorrectly identified the country of origin as Great Britain. Also, the importer did not mention that he was importing a dinosaur, only "two, large, rough fossil reptile heads; six boxes of broken fossil bones; three rough fossil reptiles; one fossil lizard; three rough fossil reptiles and one fossil reptile skull."

DHS carried out the seizure earlier today, according to an agency press release. Thanks to The Associated Press, we know it was being kept in crates at a Cadogan Tate Fine Art property in Queens and will be taken to an undisclosed location while the United States seeks to have it repatriated.

Also thanks to The Associated Press we know the dino's name, Ty. The name was bequeathed by Eric Prokopi, an amateur paleontologist from Florida who imported the dinosaur and looks like Fred Armisen sans glasses. He told the AP he's done nothing wrong. He'll have to convince the feds, too. ICE Director John Morton said in the press release it was alleged "criminal smugglers" and notes the agency's persistence in tracking down smugglers. I've left Prokopi a message, but nothing yet.

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Chris Danger
Chris Danger

..and to think, I seriously considered going to work for these clowns at heritage auctions..Thank goodness I found something better...


You win the Internet permanently.


In an early morning press conference in the White House Rose Garden, President Obama announced that his administration will stop deporting young dinosaurs who have entered the United States as eggs or embryos if they meet certain requirements. Noting offspring of illegal dinosaurs "are studied in our schools and beloved by our children," Obama said, it makes no sense to expel "the cute little things that are, for all intents and purposes, as American as horned toads." When a reporter interrupted Obama to point out that dinosaurs are archosaurs, like modern crocodilians, and not at all the same as lizards, which are squamates and related to snakes, the president told him to shut the hell up. "What are you, some kind of herpetologist?"

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