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Fossil theft at Death Valley

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photo courtesy National Park Service.

   DEATH VALLEY — Authorities ancient animal footprints left millions of years ago in Death Valley National Park (apparently before it was called Death Valley National Park) have been stolen. Now Park Service officials are offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the thieves.

On March 28, 2017, park officials announced they had recently discovered the theft of the fossil prints.

According to the Park Service:

Trackways of mammals and birds were formed about 3 to 5 million years ago, when the animals left footprints in a muddy lakeshore area. Scientists visit the area regularly, photographing and recording the exact location of each footprint. They discovered the fossils were missing during a recent visit and reported it to park rangers.

Park officials have released photos of hikers and backpackers who were in the area and may have information.

Contact the Investigative Services Branch with any information: 888-653-0009. More photos and additional info here.

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Probation in fossil case

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 TUCSON, Ariz. – A Canadian man indicted on federal charges for selling Chinese dinosaur fossils last year at a local gem show was sentenced Monday to five years’ unsupervised probation and fined $25,000, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Jun Yang, 37, who served as president of Arctic Products, Inc., based in Richmond, British Columbia, appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson.

Yang was indicted in Tucson after HSI special agents working in an undercover capacity purchased 13 illegally imported fossilized dinosaur eggs from him at last year’s Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase, according to ICE. In addition to the Hadrosaur eggs, which Yang priced $450 each, he was also seeking to sell a Psittacosaurus fossil for $15,000. Psittacosaurus, meaning parrot lizard, was a relatively small dinosaur and an early relative of the Triceratops.  More