Friday, June 26, 2020

Ranchers Own Valuable Dinosaur Fossils, Court Says

Valuable dinosaur fossils found on a Montana ranch belong to the owners of the land’s surface rights, not the owners of the mineral rights, according to a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court decision, handed down June 17, upheld a 2016 decision by a U.S. District Judge in Billings, MT, that found dinosaur fossils were part of the surface estate, not the mineral estate, in cases of split ownership. The decision means ranchers Mary Ann and Lige Murry own the dinosaur fossils worth millions of dollars found on their ranch. The dinosaurs unearthed on the ranch include a T. rex found in 2013, a triceratops skull discovered in 2011 and the 2006 discovery of a pair of dinosaurs that appeared to have been locked in battle when they died. The T. rex was sold for millions of dollars. The so-called dueling dinosaurs drew a bid of $5.5 million in a 2014 auction but failed to reach the $6 million reserve price. In a legal effort to clarify the ownership of the dueling dinosaurs before trying to sell them, the Murrays sought a court order saying they owned the fossils...MORE

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