The bones, worth an estimated $2,500, are about 145-150 million
years old and were illegally removed from a Jurassic period fossil
trove at the Hanksville-Burpee Quarry in Wayne County, the Salt Lake
Four former students and a former employee at McLennan Community
College in Waco, Texas, were charged with theft and trespassing for
peeling off from a sanctioned field trip at the quarry and hoarding
the ancient fossils, the Tribune said.
The accused also damaged the bones and the stone at the quarry,
according to the charges cited by the Tribune.
The federal Bureau of Land Management began investigating the
students and college employee last August, about three months after
the bones were removed, the Salt Lake Tribune reported, central
Texas broadcaster KXXV reported.
Because the quarry was on state trust lands, charges were brought by
McLennan Community College president Johnette McKown told the
newspaper the five accused of the theft did it without the knowledge
of other people on the field trip.
"They made their own choices, which were in contradiction to the
instruction they received," McKown said. "They hid what they did
from our professor. She is hugely disappointed," he added.
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It was unclear how the five intended to plead and whether they had
The Hanksville-Burpee Quarry, discovered in the past decade, is home
to scores of dinosaur bones, including sauropods, or long-necked
dinosaurs, at least one carnivorous dinosaur, and a possible
herbivorous Stegosaurus, according to its website.
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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