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From Reuters: Scientist Fears Car Thieves Threw Away Rare Fossil

November 05, 2002 02:08 PM ET 

By Darren Schuettler 

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African scientist said on Tuesday he
feared thieves who stole his van last month may have thrown away a
unique 250-million-year-old fossil that was inside the vehicle. 

The van was stolen on October 4 when university researcher Ross
Damiani was returning the ancient amphibian skull to the National
Museum in the central city of Bloemfontein. 

The fossil, which resembles a crocodile, was found in the southern
Free State province in the 1920s, but had not been thoroughly
analyzed for science. 

Damiani had borrowed the skull to study its origins and to describe a
new genus of amphibian from the Triassic period, between 200 million
and 250 million years ago. 


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