NEW YORK — Actor Nicholas Cage has agreed to turn over a rare stolen dinosaur skull he bought for $276,000 so it can be returned to Mongolia.
According to the Huffington Post, a U.S. attorney in Manhattan filed a civil forfeiture complaint last week to take possession of the Tyrannosaurus bataar skull.
Although the lawsuit did not name Cage, his publicist confirmed that the actor bought the skull in March 2007.
Cage agreed to turn the skull over to the Mongolian government after hearing the circumstances.
Cage’s publicist told the Huffington Post in an email that the actor received a certificate of authenticity from the Beverly Hills gallery, I.M. Chait, but was told in July 2014 that the skull may have been stolen.
According to previous reports, Cage outbid actor Leonardo DiCaprio for the skull.
The Huffington Post reported that the I.M. Chait gallery has previously sold a dinosaur skeleton from paleontologist Eric Prokopi, who was once called a “one-man black market in prehistoric fossils.”
At this point, I.M. Chait has not been accused of wrongdoing, and it is unclear whether this dinosaur skull was connected to Prokopi.