December 22, 2015


Nicolas Cage Returns Stolen Dinosaur Skull to Government

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Illegal fossils, deception, the Mongolian government, Nicolas Cage: It sounds like the plot to an aborted action film – but it's actually the recipe for the day's wackiest news story. Cage has agreed to hand over a rare dinosaur skull to American authorities so it can be returned to Mongolia, The Guardian reports.

Cage purchased the Tyrannosaurus bataar skull for $267,000 from Los Angeles' I.M. Chait gallery in 2007 – reportedly outbidding Leonardo DiCaprio for the item. (Pause for a second and imagine the absurdity of that auction.) 

But in 2014, the Department of Homeland Security informed the actor that his not-quite-national treasure was possibly stolen from Mongolia. Investigators determined the skull was in fact illegally obtained; then last week, the office of U.S. attorney Preet Bharara filed a civil forfeiture complaint to take possession, and Cage (who is accused of no wrongdoing) agreed to relinquish it.

Screenwriters, listen up: With a different ending, this story could be Hollywood gold.