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Mongolian Academy of Sciences Letter



My last post of this letter had a problem that prevented it the text appearing in the message. My apologies for that mix up. Here is the letter.

Dan


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Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs

May 18, 2012

To Heritage Auctions:

I am writing you at the request of Elbegdorj Tsakhia, the President of Mongolia. He has asked me to inquire on the country of origin for the specimen of Tyannosaurus (aslo known as Tarbosaurus) bataar (lot 49315) which is scheduled to be auctioned by your company this Sunday, May 20, 2012. I am the director of the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs and also serve as the New York representative of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. Based on our experience in the studying the collecting of Mongolian dinosaurs, and on the information provided by your company with other specimens to be auctioned this Sunday, we strongly suspect that the Tyrannosaurus specimen, as well as several others you intend to auction, came from Mongolia.

Mongolian law prohibits the export of fossil specimens, and if this specimen did in fact come from Mongolia, we we strongly urge you not to auction this specimen because it would then have been acquired and exported illegally. In fact, information on your website indicates that two of the tyrannosaur teeth (lots 49318, 49320) came from the Nemegt Formation, which is only exposed in Mongolia. Thus these specimens were acquired and exported illegally. We also strongly suspect that the ankylosaurus skull (lot 49317) came from Mongolia, and the troodontid ,ay have come from Mongolia as well (lot 49318).

The auctioning of such specimens fuels the illegal fossil trade and must be stopped. If you could provide detailed information on the provenance(s) of these specimens, I will then pass on this information to the President of Mongolia. I strongly urge you not to auction the two, illegally exported tyrannosaur teeth from Mongolia. I strongly urge you not to auction the other specimens we have indicated until their legality is fully resolved. Even if the owner indicates that they did not come from Mongolia, we suggest that you investigate this matter closely as sometimes collectors falsify information or documents to make illegal specimens appear ":legal". In the meantime, the best approach would be an open dialogue with the government of Mongolia and other interested parties in order to find an acceptable resolution to this problem. If it is eventually determined that these specimens did not come from Mongolia, it would be prudent for Heritage Auctions to consult the laws of the country of origin because many countries now prohibit the export or sale of such specimens (China is one example). Thank you for your prompt attention in this matter.

Sincerely,

Bolortsetseg Minjin, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs
New York Representative of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences