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Last Updated: Monday, 21 July, 2003, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
Dinosaur stolen from museum
A rare dinosaur skeleton has been stolen from a museum in south-eastern Australia.

Psittacosaurus (Image courtesy of Natural History Museum, London)
Psittacosaurus was the size of a dog
(Image: Natural History Museum, London)
The 110 million-year-old fossil of a parrot-beaked dinosaur, Psittacosaurus sinensis, is believed to be one of only six in the world.

The skeleton, on loan to Newcastle Regional Museum from China, is 60 centimetres (24 inches) tall.

"It's the size of a dog but the skeleton is more like that of a turkey," said museum director Gavin Fry.

Police are investigating the theft, while the museum has offered A$5000 (US$3250) for the return of the exhibit.

This is such a distinctive item that it cannot be mistaken for anything else
Museum spokesman
It was part of a display of Chinese dinosaurs designed to show the link between modern-day birds and larger dinosaurs.

"It's not of great monetary value, tens of thousands of dollars rather than millions, but its scientific value is undisputed," said Mr Fry.

The thief or thieves broke security glass to get to the skeleton.

Some of the bones were found in and around the museum, leading to speculation that the theft was an amateur act.

"It looks pretty opportunistic," said Mr Fry. "If a collector had ordered it, they would not be happy to be receiving damaged goods."

The city of Newcastle is about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Sydney.




SEE ALSO:
Four-winged dinos from China
23 Jan 03  |  Science/Nature


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