By Safaa Kasraoui
Rabat – Following a long-term stay out the country, the dinosaur skeleton has been brought back to Morocco.
The 9-meter-long skeleton has been handed over to the Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water, and Environment, Morocco’s News Agency (MAP) reported.
The restitution of the reptile fossil was carried out through an agreement between Morocco and the Binoche and Giquello auction company in Paris with the aim of avoiding a tedious judicial process.
The skeleton porters unconditionally recognized Morocco as the original owner of the skeleton and agreed to ensure its transfer to the country. The plesiosaurus skeleton was exhibited at the Drouot Hotel in Paris on March 4-7.
The plesiosaur, a 9-meter-long marine reptile with a long neck and turtle-like flippers, was originally discovered in Khouribga, Morocco. According to Spanish news outlet La Republica, the fossils were illegally transported out of Morocco in 2011.
The Moroccan Association for the Protection of Geological Heritage and paleontologist experts are still striving to find out how the fossils of a species that only existed in Morocco was able to leave the country.
Following four years of restoration work, the plesiosaurus skeleton has been restored to 75 percent of its original state. The skeleton is rumored to be exhibited at the History and Civilizations museum in Rabat.