Nicolas Cage has agreed to return a rare dinosaur skull he had bought to the Mongolian government, after it emerged it had been stolen.
Cage bought the skull of the Tyrannosaurus bataar in 2007 for $276,000 (about £185,000) from the I.M. Chait gallery in Beverly Hills.
However, it later emerged that the skull had been taken illegally from Mongolia, where the carnivorous dinosaur, a relation of the Tyrannosaurus rex, lived 70 million years ago.
In another slightly odd twist, it also emerged that Cage had outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for the item.
A rep for Cage said that he had been contacted about the skull by the US authorities last summer, informing him that the skull might have been stolen.
He’s not been accused of any wrongdoing.
The gallery, which is also not being accused on any wrongdoing, had previously sold a smuggled dinosaur skeleton to another buyer, after purchasing it from convicted palaeontologist Eric Prokopi.
Prokopi was arrested in 2012 and charged with one count of conspiracy involving smuggling illegal goods, possessing stolen property and making false statements, and has been accused of being ‘a one-man black market in prehistoric fossils’.
It’s not known whether the skull bought by Cage was one linked to Prokopi.
The skull is far from the only curious item Nicolas Cage has bought in the past, however, and not even the only dinosaur skull – he reportedly also has a Tarbosaurus skull that’s 67-million-years-old.
He also owns a haunted house in New Orleans, a huge pyramid tombstone, the Shah of Iran’s Lamborghini, a collection of shrunken pygmy heads, and a pair of albino King Cobras.
Image credit: Yahoo File/AFP