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PALEONEWS: China Recovers Smuggled Fossil

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China Recovers Smuggled Fossil 

BEIJING (June 2) XINHUA - The Chinese Academy of Sciences ( CAS)
announced today that the smuggled fossil of Archaeoraptor liaoningensis
has returned to China with the help of the United States' National
Geographic Society. 

Coinciding with the Fifth International Meeting of the Society of Avian
Paleontology and Evolution and the Symposium on Jehol Biota, the
Dinosaur Museum of Blanding, Utah, reverted the fossil which was
excavated from a layer dating back to 120 million years ago in northeast
China's Liaoning Province and later smuggled out of the country. 

"We show sincere gratitude to the National Geographic Society for its
help for the fossil recovery," said Wang Yuanqing, vice chief of the CAS
Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP). 

"China hopes that the international academic circles help all smuggled
fossils return to the country," said professor Wang. 

In a story titled "Feathers for T. Rex?" in its November 1999 issue,
National Geographic reported that Archaeoraptor liaoningensis fossil
shows "missing links in dinosaur evolution". 

However, Wang and his colleague Xu Xing, a Ph.D. with the same CAS
institute, ascertained that the fossil is a composite of two different
fossilized creatures. 

Their dispute has been accepted by the National Geographic Society which
publishes the magazine. Furthermore, the society acknowledged the
mistake publicly. 

"Smugglers often manufacture fake fossils for economic gains," said
Wang. "Fossil smuggling does great harm to scientific research." 

In recent years, most of influential museums and research organizations
stipulated strict policies, prohibiting illegal trades on smuggled
Flying Goat Graphics
(Society of Vertebrate Paleontology member)