I wanna be a smuggler of dinosaur bones.
This man, Eric Prokopi, 38, of Gainesville, Florida, has been living my dream. A life of luxury, of excitement, intrigue. And then also dinosaurs. Or dinosaur bones. Which is the best we’ll get because we can’t clone them ever.
So, he’s been grabbing dinosaur fossils, taking them out of Mongolia and China (super-illegal), lying to US Customs and undervaluing the contents of the shipments and intentionally mislabeling them as being from Japan.
And of course, making money off the auctions of the skeletons. The last one ended up being his downfall — a Tyrannosaurus bataar, which is the smaller cousin of the T-Rex, was auctioned off in Manhattan for over a million dollars.
Wind of it reached the Mongolian government, who was all, “yo, that’s our stuff,” claiming the skeleton was stolen from the Gobi Desert. And after an investigation, US authorities came to the conclusion that the Mongolian government was telling the truth and placed Prokopi under arrest.
What’s interesting is Prokopi’s reaction to the Mongolian Prime Minister making attempts to shut down the black market:
If he only wants to take the skeleton and try to put an end to the black market, he will have a fight and will only drive the black market deeper underground.
In other words: don’t try to stop illegal trading; you’ll only make them harder to spot.
Question: Favorite dinosaur — go.