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Paleontology experts examine the Tyrannosaurus bataar and issue reports 


His Excellency Elbegdorj Tsakhia, President of Mongolia, appointed a delegation to inspect the Tyrannosaurus bataar dinosaur that had been the subject of a May 20, 2012 auction by Heritage Auctions in New York City. The delegation included officials from Mongolia, Canada and the United States. The inspection took place in the New York City area, on June 5, 2012, and proceeded with the full consent and assistance of Heritage Auctions and its consignor. The paleontologists who inspected the dinosaur, at the President’s request, included: Philip Currie, MSc, PhD, FRSC Professor and Canada Research Chair of Dinosaur Paleobiology at the University of Alberta; and President of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Tsogtbaatar Khishigjav, PhD Head of Paleontological Laboratory and Museum, Mongolian Academy of Sciences Bolor Minjin, PhD Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs In addition, Mark Norell, PhD, Chairman and Curator, Division of Paleontology, at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York, collaborated in a report, based on his previous viewing of the dinosaur. The paleontologists unanimously concluded that the specimen originated in Mongolia, based on unique characteristics of the Tyrannosaurus bataar. The paleontologists prepared reports, which are available for viewing via links at the bottom of this article. Dr. Currie and Dr. Norell wrote that, “The general appearance of the animal and the color of the bones indicate to us that this is the skull and skeleton of a Tarbosaurus bataar (also known as Tyrannosaurus bataar) from the Nemegt Formation of Mongolia.” Indeed the auction catalog itself had described and publicized the specimen as a Tyrannosaurus bataar, so there has never been a dispute as to the species. In addition to the paleontologists, the following non-scientific representatives attended the inspection: Ann Altman, PhD Advisor to President Elbegdorj on the Tyrannosaurus bataar issue Baatar Choisuren Minister/Counselor, Mongolian Embassy to the United States Badruugan Naranzun Director, Department of Culture and Art, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of Mongolia Robert Painter Attorney for President Elbegdorj Taunya Painter Attorney for President Elbegdorj Puntsag Tsagaan Senior Advisor to President Elbegdorj Attorney Robert Painter said, “President Elbegdorj’s staff has initiated thorough research into Mongolian law concerning the preservation of cultural treasures, like this Tyrannosaurus. We have concluded that Mongolian law has not permitted export of this rare fossil out of Mongolia since at least 1961. Nonetheless, we understand that significant value was added to the specimen by the consignor through initial identification, restoration and preparation. We are also grateful for the exemplary cooperation of Heritage Auctions, the contingent buyer and the consignor, without which this inspection could have been long and needlessly delayed. All parties remain hopeful that a fair and acceptable resolution can be reached without need for additional expert opinions or litigation.” The Mongolian delegation is now traveling back to Ulaanbaatar. Upon their return to Mongolia and reporting to President Elbegdorj, the parties will continue discussions on how to resolve this important matter.



Additional Resources



Report by Dr. Philip Currie and Dr. Mark Norell



Report by Dr. Tsogtbaatar Khishigjav



Report by Dr. Bolor Minjin



Live Science coverage



Photo Caption



(L to R) Professor Philip Currie, PhD (President of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology), Attorney Robert Painter, and Puntsag Tsagaan (Senior Advisor to the President of Mongolia) at the dinosaur inspection site.


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Robert Painter is an attorney and member of Painter Law Firm PLLC.

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Robert Painter is an attorney and member of Painter Law Firm PLLC.

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