Actor Nicolas Cage has agreed to return a dinosaur skull to U.S. authorities, so that the skull can then be handed over to the Mongolian government.
This is not a joke or scene from some Cage movie (that we’re aware of).
Cage bought a rare Tyrannosaurus Bataar skull at a Beverly Hills auction for $276,000 in 2007, but apparently the skull was illegally smuggled into the United States. The actor is not being accused of any wrongdoing and was unaware of the illegal smuggling (via Rolling Stone):
Over the weekend, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ordered the return of a Tyrannosaurus bataar skull back to Mongolia after the fossil was smuggled illegally into the United States and sold at auction in 2007. While initial reports did not specify who exactly was in possession of the 67 million-year-old skull, it has since been revealed that actor Nicolas Cage purchased the fossil for $276,000 at a Beverly Hills auction house.
While the actor was absolved of any wrongdoing in the incident – Cage was unaware that the fossil was smuggled into America illegally – Reuters reports that he was ordered to forfeit the Tyrannosaurus bataar skull back to the Mongolian government, which Cage agreed to do last week.
And this is where the story gets even better (via Reuters):
Cage outbid fellow movie star Leonardo DiCaprio for the skull, according to prior news reports.
Nicolas Cage and Leonardo DiCaprio in a bidding war over a dinosaur skull. That must’ve been a fun auction/party.