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$1,052,500 Tyrannosaur sale proceeds despite court order

A controversial Tyrannosaur fossil skeleton sold for $1,052,500 in a Manhattan auction on Sunday, despite a Texas judge's order halting the sale.
Mongolian officials had called for a halt to the sale of the 24-foot-long and eight-foot-tall "Tyrannosaurus bataar" (a smaller cousin of T. Rex) on Friday, as USA TODAY reported earlier, citing concern that it had been exported illegally from their country.
The 75% complete fossil skeleton, "has sold for $1,052,500, contingent upon resolution of a Texas state court proceeding," Heritage Auctions of Dallas announced on Sunday. The sale proceeded although Mongolia, acting through its attorney, Robert Painter, had convinced a Texas District court judge to issue a restraining order stopping the sale on Saturday.
"The proceedings were not without event, however, as Mongolia's Texas-based attorney, without authority from the New York judicial system, tried to interrupt the auction," the auction house noted in a statement on the sale. According to Painter's law firm, the lawyer stood up at the beginning of the auction with the Texas judge on his cell phone and noted the restraining order. He was asked to leave and the auction proceeded.
"I am very surprised that Heritage Auctions, Inc. knowingly defied a valid court order, particularly with the judge on the phone, listening and ready to explain his order," Painter says, in a statement.
The British newspaper, The Daily Mail, has quoted David Herskowitz, director of natural history at Heritage Auctions as saying "The specimen was found over 10 years ago in the Gobi desert and is owned by a fossil collector from Dorset."
Auctions of dinosaur fossils has long excited controversy, with paleontologists decrying their loss to scholarship in private hands and the possible spur to looting that they represent. The $8.36 million sale of a Tyrannosaurus Rex ("Tyrannosaur Sue") lead to lawsuits, legal raids and charitable giving to scrape up funding for the winning bid from Chicago's Field Museum.

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Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
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