STL Science Center

STL Science Center

01 May 2018

Two Sides to Read

The description of the lone known skull of Minotaurasaurus is hosted online. Miles and Miles 2009 was published in Current Science (an Indian journal published in conjunction with the Indian Academy of Sciences), not necessarily because it was not good enough for some of the typical venues of fossil description (such as the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology), but because it was very controversial. An initial attempt to publish in a Polish journal was met with rejection. The rumor about how the skull was purchased is that one of the authors told the buyer it would be named after him if purchased and it was purchased without papers of provenance because they do not exist, not because they were lost or misplaced. The fossil is Mongolian but it was prepared in the United States of America and sold through a Japanese based fossil dealer. Nature published an article summarizing the trip that the fossil has taken to become a published fossil shortly after the description was released. The New Yorker preceded the Nature article in releasing a story on fossil dealers and the fossil trade. Their article goes into details about illicit fossil sales and discusses the seller of the Minotaurasaurus skull, possibly connecting him with another illicit fossil sale of Tarbosaurus.

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