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USNM fossils

Posted for Matt  Carrano.

Hello everyone, 

Greetings from  Washington. As a curator at the Smithsonian Institution's 
National Museum of  Natural History, I am writing to ask for your assistance. 

Two weeks ago  (November 15), we discovered that a major theft had occurred 
from the exhibit  halls of the NMNH. Someone had broken into five separate 
railing cases and  removed nine fossil mammal and reptile specimens (all 
from them. These  cases were not under direct camera surveillance, so we do 
not have footage of  the theft. I am writing because we believe that the 
thieves have only two  options for these fossils. 

The first is to keep or hide them, in which  case we are probably going to 
have a hard time recovering them. 

The  second option is to sell them, by passing them off as their own finds or 
as  legitimately purchased fossils. 

In the event of the latter, I am  including information on our missing 
specimens, in the hope that you might  recognize them should they pass under 
view. If you do see them, or have  them offered to you, please let me know or 
contact our collections manager (Jann  Thompson, thompsonj@si.edu). Several of 
these are important specimens, having  been published and illustrated 

The specimens are: 
- USNM  351927, Chrysemys sp., turtle carapace 
- USNM 336367, Frictops emryi,  insectivore skull and skeleton 
- USNM 22482, Hyrachyus affinis, tapir skull  and jaws 
- USNM 17161, Ischyrotomus oweni, rodent skull 
- USNM 325701,  Neohipparion republicans, horse rostrum with teeth 
- USNM 16921, Palaeolagus  haydeni, rabbit skull and jaws 
- USNM 18804, Paradjidaumo trilophus, rodent  skull and partial skeleton 
- USNM 22479, Thinocyon velox, carnivore skull  and jaws 
- USNM 22478, Uintacyon juglans, carnivore skeleton (anterior  portion on 

Finally, at this time the theft is being investigated  by the FBI, and they 
have requested that we confine our communications on this  matter to colleagues 
and refrain from speaking to the media or other public  outlets. 

If I can provide you with any additional information that might  be helpful, 
or if you have suggestions for others in the paleontological  community that I 
might contact, please let me know. Thank you for your time and  kind 
attention to this unsolicited request. 

with kind regards,  

Matthew Carrano