International Dinosaur Discoveries

Dinosaur Discoveries

What fossil was stolen from a site in Australia?

In 1996, fossil collectors stole a dinosaur footprint from a site in northwest Australia, approximately 1,800 miles (3,000 kilometers) from Sydney. This was the world’s only known fossil footprint made by a Stegosaurus, and represented a loss not only to science, but to the aborigines of Australia, who regarded the location of the footprints as one of their sacred sites. The thieves apparently used power tools to remove the rock containing the trace fossil. Under aboriginal law, this offense is punishable by death.

Approximately one year after thieves made off with the fossil, police recovered it and arrested two Australian men. The recovered block of rock containing the footprint weighed approximately 66 pounds (30 kilograms), measured 23 inches (60 centimeters) by 15.5 inches (40 centimeters), and was 5 inches (13 centimeters) deep. The men attempted to sell the fossil footprint in Asia, but they were unsuccessful. Police believe this may have been due to the size or weight of the rock. Police also would not elaborate on how the fossil was recovered.


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