“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 6/24/20
First, it was a pair of dueling dinosaurs, locked in battle when they died, discovered in 2006. Next it was a triceratops skull in 2011 and finally a T. rex found in 2013. The dinosaur fossils worth millions of dollars unearthed on Mary Ann and Lige Murray’s Montana ranch fueled a legal battle that finally concluded last week on June 17. U.S. appeals court ruled that the fossils belong to the owners of the land’s surface rights, not the owners of the mineral rights. “The composition of minerals found in the fossils does not make them valuable or worthless,” wrote U.S. District Judge Susan Watters of Billings, as reported by the Billings Gazette. “Instead the value turns on characteristics other than mineral composition, such as the completeness of the specimen, the species of dinosaur and how well it is preserved.” The T. rex sold for millions of dollars. The dueling dinosaurs drew a bid of $5.5 million in a 2014 auction, but failed to reach the $6 million reserve price.